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Giuseppe Capriati


Francisco Suárez’s thought has often been interpreted as paving the way for early modern philosophy, and causation is one of the themes in which his name is regularly associated with modern ideas. This is, however, an extrinsic relation – despite our lamentably poor knowledge of early modern scholasticism, Suárez’s doctrines can only be properly understood in relation to their proximate scholastic context. This article attempts a reevaluation of the importance of this context through an analysis of the definition of ‘cause’ in early modern scholasticism, focusing on the influence of Jesuit authors such as Toledo, Perera, and Fonseca on Suárez’s famous definition of ‘cause’, often considered as an anticipation of Descartes’ reduction of causality to efficiency. As it turns out, the proximate context of this definition provides not only the debate to which Suárez responds, but also the common conception of causality that Suárez tries to define more properly than his predecessors.

Adrian Blau

This paper offers a systematic analysis of Hobbes’s practical political thought. Hobbes’s abstract philosophy is rightly celebrated, but he also gave much practical advice on how to avoid disorder. Yet he is typically interpreted too narrowly in this respect, especially by those who only read him economistically. Other scholars supplement this economistic focus with sociological or political interpretations, but to my knowledge, no one stresses all three aspects of his thought. This paper thus examines each of Hobbes’s practical proposals for avoiding corruption and a state of nature. Hobbes clearly uses economistic, sociological and political approaches, which involve shaping incentives, desires/preferences, and opportunities, respectively. This intentionally anachronistic framework helps us see further, highlighting Hobbes’s rich and wide-ranging practical proposals for avoiding disorder – a crucial part of his theory.

Wojciech Wciórka


Early twelfth-century logicians invoked past-tensed statements with future-oriented contents to undermine the assumption that every proposition ‘about the past’ is determinate. In the second half of the century, the notion of future-dependence was used to restrict the scope of necessity per accidens (e.g., in the Ars Meliduna). At some point, this idea began to be applied in theology to solve puzzles surrounding predestination, prescience, prophecy, and faith. In the mid-1160s, Magister Udo quotes some thinkers who insisted that the principle of the necessity of the past should exclude dicta that ‘relate to the future’, such as that he has been predestined. Peter of Poitiers adopted this ‘Ockhamist’ strategy around 1170. We find similar accounts in Simon of Tournai and Alan of Lille, who invoked it in other contexts as well. By the time of Praepositinus of Cremona, Hubert of Pirovano, and Stephen Langton, the restricted principle became something of a common view at Paris.

Harald Berger


One of the riddles of the history of late medieval philosophy is the identity of a certain Hugo who is frequently quoted in manuscripts as well as in early prints. This article offers solutions to the relevant problems, identifying the work to which these quotations refer. One of the manuscripts presents the author’s name as “Hugo de Reyss,” Reyss being identified with Rees in North-Rhine/Westphalia. A passage in that work links the author to the University of Paris. Among the Hugos documented at the University of Paris at the relevant time, Hugo de Hervorst is the most promising candidate. Hugo of Hervorst and his family had close relations to Rees. In sum, a chain of arguments leads to the identification of Hugo de Reyss as Hugo de Hervorst, whose academic and ecclesiastical careers can thus be outlined. Documented for the first time in 1372, he died in 1399.

Editors Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte

Martin Luther, die Juden und Esther

Bibelinterpretation im Schatten der Judenfeindschaft

Isaac Kalimi

Editors Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte

Editors Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte

Zwischen Kollaboration, Verrat und Handlungszwängen

Ein beklemmendes Kapitel europäisch-jüdischer Beziehungsgeschichte in der Zeit der Nazi-Herrschaft

Julius H. Schoeps

Stewart Duncan

Hobbes, in both the Elements of Law and Leviathan, argues that a wide variety of terms – including ‘good’, ‘bad’, and the names of virtues and vices – have a double and inconstant signification. This paper explores and explains that theory of Hobbes’s. (Two other interpretations are discussed: Pettit’s discussion in terms of indexicals, and Alexandra’s in terms of sense and reference.) This inconstancy of signification has considerable potential to cause confusion and conflict. Given those practical consequences, it is of some importance for Hobbes to find a solution to this problem. The paper examines several possible Hobbesian solutions to the problem. There is reason to think that these suggested solutions cannot completely solve the problem. Hobbes appears to believe that an appropriately powerful sovereign can resolve such problems when necessary, but this is a practical solution that relies on sovereign power, and the difficulty is never in principle resolved.

Frank Lovett

Few passages in Hobbes’s writings have generated as much critical interest as the notorious reply to the fool – one who believes it is reasonable to renege on our promises whenever it is advantageous for us to do so. In his reply, Hobbes appears to argue that it is never reasonable to renege on our promises because doing so is never in our prudential interest. The problem is not only that this reply seems wrong, but further that it seems inconsistent with Hobbes’s own philosophical commitments. This research note argues that the reply makes sense if we are willing to read it as an incompletely worked-out claim about the prudence of sometimes preventing oneself from being fully prudent in the future.

Gianni Paganini

Hobbes surely spent the ten years (1641–1651) of greatest significance for his philosophical career on the Continent, in France, above all, in Paris. It was during this period that he published De cive; wrote the De motu, loco et tempore; produced a draft of the entire Leviathan as well as most of De corpore. His complicated relationship with Descartes has been studied closely, and Mersenne’s role has become clearer. There remains however the task of more carefully delineating the contours of Hobbes’s relations with the circles of “learned libertinism.” The Libertinism which will be dealt with here was not only French, instead of English, but also “theoretical” and “intellectual” rather than practical, and nothing at all sexual, contrary to the common usage of that word in the current language. French Libertinism was a philosophical trend aimed at promoting a non-conformist approach to religion, history, morals, and even politics.

Eleanor Curran

Hobbes, in his political writing, is generally understood to be arguing for absolutism. I argue that despite apparently supporting absolutism, Hobbes, in Leviathan, also undermines that absolutism in at least two and possibly three ways. First, he makes sovereignty conditional upon the sovereign’s ability to ensure the safety of the people. Second and crucially, he argues that subjects have inalienable rights, rights that are held even against the sovereign. When the subjects’ preservation is threatened they are no longer obliged to obey the sovereign. Third, there is also a possible limitation on the absolute power of the sovereign in the form of restrictions Hobbes puts in place on what laws he may legitimately make. Finally, Hobbesian absolutism is compared to the absolutism of Carl Schmitt. This exercise demonstrates the limitations that Hobbes places on the power and authority of the sovereign.

J. Matthew Hoye

Scholars debate whether Hobbes held to a command theory of law or to a natural law theory, and to what extent they are compatible. Curiously, however, Hobbes summarizes his own teachings by claiming that it is “natural justice” that sovereigns should study, an idea that recalls ancient virtue ethics and which is seemingly incompatible with both command and natural law theory. The purpose of this article is to explicate the general significance of natural justice in Leviathan. It is argued that below the formal and ideological claims regarding the law’s legitimacy, the effective ground of the legitimacy of both the civil and natural laws is sovereign virtue. In turn, it is argued that the model for this idea was found in Aristotle. As such, this article constitutes a general recasting of Hobbes’s legal philosophy with a focus on the natural person of the sovereign.

Irene Binini


This article investigates Abelard’s defence of the compatibility between universal bivalence and the existence of future contingent events. It first considers the standard strategy put forward by twelfth-century commentators to solve Aristotle’s dilemma in De Interpretatione 9, which fundamentally relies on Boethius’ distinction between definite and indefinite truth values. Abelard’s own position on the dilemma is then introduced, focusing on a specific deterministic argument considered in his logical works that aims to demonstrate that, given the determinacy of present-tense propositions such as ‘“that Socrates will eat tomorrow” is true’, future contingent events such as that Socrates will eat tomorrow are determinate in advance. In addition to presenting Abelard’s reply to the argument, the article offers an analysis of his notions of contingency, determinacy, and future events, and a comparison between Abelard’s position and other twelfth-century discussions on future contingents.

Devils in the Ink

William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and Geometry as a Method for Accessing Intermediary Beings

Tommy P. Cowan


This paper explores some of the myriad connections between geometric visuals, magic, and altered states of consciousness, more specifically looking at the colocation of geometric visuals and experiences of intermediary beings. The main focus here is on how geometric visuals relate to the consciousness experiments and magical practices of American author William Burroughs (1914–1997) and his Swiss-English collaborator Brion Gysin (1916–1986). Such an analysis will also dive into the broader intellectual currents that influenced Burroughs and Gysin’s uses of geometry, yielding more abstract conceptions of how geometry relates to altered states of consciousness and intermediary beings. Furthermore, understanding how geometric manipulation of the mind works has important consequences for multiple fields outside of the history of esotericism, including market-oriented disciplines like architecture and industrial design. As such, this essay proposes that the historical study of esotericism can promote and conduct itself as an interdisciplinary space that communicates the value of its data to market-oriented fields through “material approaches” to religion à la Birgit Meyer.

Judith Weiss


Following Boaz Huss’s coinage of an ‘Idea of the Zohar’, I focus in this paper on the ‘Idea of the Zohar’ held by the Kabbalistic Christian Guillaume Postel (1510–1581). Postel regarded the Zohar as an ultimate expression of his entire theological and messianic thought, and therefore he produced two Latin annotated translations of this treatise. Relying on a close analysis of the Incipit he attached to the earlier translation completed in early 1554 (BL ms. Slaone 1410, fol. 1r), I sketch Postel’s unique concepts regarding the Zohar, both as a text and as a divine essence, showing how his description of the Zohar’s provenance and circulation sheds light on his particular ‘Idea of the Zohar’.

Angelika Schmitt


This article addresses some of the main theses of the dissertation on Andrei Bely’s opus magnum, The History of the Becoming of the Self-Conscious Soul. Bely’s work on philosophy of culture will be discussed in contrast to Rudolf Steiner and on the basis of a drawing illustrating its content. Convergences and differences concerning the crucial concept of the self-conscious soul with regard to Bely and Steiner are pointed out as well as some peculiarities of Bely’s historiosophical approach. The third part demonstrates the cognitive principles of the self-conscious soul, which for Bely are connected to its development during modern times. They also provide the means for the formation of the poetical structure of Bely’s text. A fourth part provides some examples of the metaphorical level of the text and shows the implications of Bely’s interpretation of the ‘spiral of history’. The last part discusses the definition of Bely’s method as “hermetic symbolism”.

Scholarship as Simulacrum

The Case of Hitler’s Monsters

Eva Kingsepp

‘Wishing You a Speedy Termination of Existence’

Aleister Crowley’s Views on Buddhism and Its Relationship with the Doctrine of Thelema

Gordan Djurdjevic


Aleister Crowley was considerably influenced by the doctrines of Theravāda Buddhism, which he studied in his youth, both theoretically and practically. He correlated its principles to the principles of scientific agnosticism and considered that its objectives could also be achieved through the practice of ceremonial magic. His eventual acceptance of Thelema’s religious philosophy led to his ultimate renunciation of Buddhism as a worldview. This essay examines Crowley’s early writings on the subject of Buddhism and suggests that the presence of Buddhist theories remains quite significant in his formulation of the doctrine of Thelema.

Against a Feline Erasmus

On the Occasion of the Publication of the Fiftieth Volume of Erasmi Opera Omnia—Amsterdam, 19 January, 2018

Nicolette Mout


The publication of the fiftieth volume of Erasmi Opera Omnia (ASD), a series begun in 1969, leads to an examination of Erasmus as editor of texts, of which his editions of the New Testament and of patristic writings hold pride of place. Treatment of the question how Erasmus himself rated editions and editors is preceded by an assessment of his public persona. The disputatious or outright polemical Erasmus showed himself not at all, as Huizinga would have it, “restricted to the feline” in his expressions about other scholars and their work. Erasmus’ ideas about the making or the appreciation of an edition often started from the negative: who is not able to make or to appreciate a good edition, and what exactly is a bad edition? In the end, however, while discussing St Augustine’s works he drew a portrait of the ideal editor.

Eric MacPhail

John Monfasani


The article confirms Andrew J. Brown’s thesis that despite carrying colophons with dates in the first decade of the sixteenth century, the four sumptuous manuscripts of Erasmus’ translation of the New Testament produced by the scribe Pieter Meghen could not have been finished until the 1520s and in fact preserve a version of Erasmus’ translation not available until the 1520s. Nonetheless, the article goes on to prove that Erasmus was working on a translation of the New Testament already at the time of the colophons in the Meghen manuscripts. Erasmus’ translation was part of his large-scale culture war against medieval scholasticism that he embarked upon at the end of the fifteenth century and continued until his death in 1536. The world around Erasmus changed radically, however, in those four decades, in significant measure because of his own scholarship and writings, but Erasmus himself changed amazingly little in his basic attitudes. The result was that by the end his critics from the Protestant as much as from the Catholic side were rightly frustrated by his incoherent reaction to the changed situation. Emblematic of his inability to face up to the transformed reality is his annotation to I Timothy1:6, which became an unconscious parody of his incoherent stance on religious doctrine and which is translated in an appendix to the article.

Koen Goudriaan


A series of accounts in the archive of St Saviour’s Collegiate Church in Utrecht, kept in the Utrecht Record Office, contains information on Gerardus Helye, Erasmus’ father, showing that he functioned as vice-pastor in the small town of Woerden from 1471 onwards and then from 1476 onwards fulfilled this same function for a couple of years in Gouda. This article presents and analyses these new data and considers their implications for the reconstruction of Erasmus’ early life until his departure from Steyn monastery.

F.L. Blumberg


In this essay, I reconsider the proposition that Erasmus’ The Praise of Folly is a satire—an attribution of genre that has long been treated as a truism. I argue that greater attention to several key sources can adjust our understanding of both the text and its kind. The article examines the early reception of Folly’s speech; a pivotal passage in the text itself; crucial translation choices; and Erasmus’ reflections on both his creation and the nature of satire. I investigate the idea of the Praise as a satire not to quibble about generic designations but to bring into relief Erasmus’ contribution to questions of creative licence during the Renaissance; in particular, the permissible scope of social critique, or how to approach the darker side of epideixis.

Jörn Müller


This article explores the epistemological ramifications of understanding Thomas Aquinas’ conception of truth (famously defined as adaequatio rei et intellectus) in terms of a dynamic process of cognitive assimilation within the human psyche. In particular, the author addresses two potential pitfalls for his theory, namely (i) ‘failed assimilation’ as the basis of false judgments and (ii) ‘negative assimilation’, i.e., correspondence to non-being: how is the human mind capable of assimilation to ‘nothing’ (in the sense of ‘no thing’) at all? Aquinas addresses these two problems in various passages throughout his works; the author connects and reviews their arguments with regard to their philosophical cogency and attempts to answer the question of whether Aquinas ultimately succeeds in solving the several puzzles that ‘failed’ as well as ‘negative assimilation’ seem to create in his conception of truth.

Dominik Perler


Medieval Aristotelians assumed that we cannot assimilate forms unless our soul abstracts them from sensory images. But what about the disembodied soul that has no senses and hence no sensory images? How can it assimilate forms? This article discusses this problem, focusing on two thirteenth-century models. It first looks at Thomas Aquinas’ model, which invokes divine intervention: the separated soul receives forms directly from God. The article examines the problems this explanatory model poses and then turns to a second model, defended by Matthew of Aquasparta: the separated soul actively apprehends forms that are present to it. It will be argued that this model explains assimilation in terms of appropriation, rather than reception, of forms and thereby radically changes the traditional account of cognition. Finally, the article draws some methodological conclusions, arguing that the focus on the ‘limit case’ of separated souls made theoretical change possible.

José Filipe Silva and Christina Thomsen Thörnqvist


The articles in this issue are a selection of the papers presented at the conference Knowledge as Assimilation, held at the University of Helsinki on 9-11 June 2017. The conference was the result of a collaboration between two research groups that have been established in Finland and Sweden from 2013 onwards: the research project Rationality in Perception: Transformations of Mind and Cognition 1250-1550, funded by the European Research Council (2015-2020) and hosted by the University of Helsinki, and the research programme Representation and Reality: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Aristotelian Tradition, funded by the Riksbankens jubileumsfond (2013-2019) and located at the University of Gothenburg.

Mohan Matthen


Aristotle held that perception consists in the reception of external sensory qualities (or sensible forms) in the sensorium. This idea is repeated in many forms in contemporary philosophy, including, with regard to vision, in the idea (still not firmly rejected) that the retinal image consists of points of colour. In fact, this is false. Colour is a quality that is constructed by the visual system, and though it is possible to be a realist about colour, it is completely misleading to think of it as received by the retina. Moreover, such supposedly “charitable” interpretations of Aristotle’s doctrines, based on misconceptions of perception-science, distort our understanding of his historical context.

Ana María Mora-Márquez


Discussions about singular cognition, and its linguistic counterpart, are by no means exclusive to contemporary philosophy. In fact, a strikingly similar discussion, to which several medieval texts bear witness, took place in the late Middle Ages. The aim of this article is to partly reconstruct this medieval discussion, as it took place in Parisian question-commentaries on Aristotle’s De anima, so as to show the progression from the rejection of singular intellection in Siger of Brabant (†ca.1283) to the descriptivist positions of John Duns Scotus (†1308) and John of Jandun (†1328), and finally to the singularism of John Buridan (†ca.1360). All these authors accept some kind of intellectual access to individuals. Therefore, the conundrum is not whether we have some kind of intellectual knowledge of individuals, but rather whether we can know them singularly. This article begins by presenting the crucial obstacle to singular intellection in Siger. Thereafter, the author shows that Jandun and Scotus depart in fundamental ways from Siger’s account, but that for them the intellection of individuals is of a general character. Finally, she proposes that Buridan is a genuine singularist.

Cecilia Trifogli


In a passage of De Anima II, chapter 12 (424a17-24), Aristotle makes a general claim about the senses, which is condensed in the formula that the senses are receptive of the sensible forms without the matter. While it is clear that this formula must play an important theoretical role in Aristotle’s account, it is far from clear what it exactly means. Its interpretation is still a focus of controversy among contemporary scholars. In this article the author presents the exegeses of this formula proposed by the two most authoritative commentators on De anima from the second half of the thirteenth century, namely, Thomas Aquinas and Giles of Rome. Both commentators assume that with this formula and in particular with the qualification “without the matter” Aristotle intends to characterize an “intentional” reception of a form, and to contrast it with a “natural” reception, but they give different accounts of intentionality.

Die Geschichte hinter der Geschichte

Zum Streit um das literarische Erbe der Schriftsteller Franz Kafka und Max Brod

Julius H. Schoeps

Thomas L. Gertzen

Hingabe als Weg in den Untergang

Ein Vergleich von Stendhals Julien Sorel mit Herman Melvilles Kapitän Ahab

Johannes Frankow

Editors Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte

Moderne Gnosis, jenseits von Christen- wie Judentum

Anmerkungen zu und Erinnerungen an Jacob Taubes, aus Anlass des von Herbert Kopp-Oberstebrink und Martin Treml herausgegebenen Aufsatzbandes „Apokalypse und Politik“

Richard Faber

On the Death of God

A Post-mortem Reflection on a “Life”

David Wyatt Aiken

Editors Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte

William Duba


Based on the comments of Giovanni Boccaccio and Giovanni Villani, a theory holds that Dante Alighieri may have studied philosophy and theology at Paris in 1309-1310. That same academic year, the Dominican bachelor of the Sentences at Paris, Giovanni Regina di Napoli (John of Naples), delivered a speech thanking a ‘Benefactor’. This Benefactor, neither a Dominican nor a theologian, gave the sole benefit of honoring Giovanni, the convent of Saint-Jacques, and the Dominican Order with his presence, attending Giovanni’s lectures on theology. This paper explores the likelihood that the Benefactor was Dante. An edition and an English translation of Giovanni’s speech are included in appendices.

„Die Vereinbarkeit des scheinbar Unvereinbaren“

Franz Oppenheimer, Ludwig Erhard und die Grundlegung der Sozialen Marktwirtschaft

Julius H. Schoeps

Brigitte Sändig

Jakob Böhme, der spekulative Mystiker

Ludwig Feuerbachs Böhme-Interpretation

Udo Kern

Editors Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte

Editors Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte

Purim in Altdorf

Johann Christoph Wagenseils Interesse am Jiddischen und dessen Kultur sowie seine Zusammenarbeit mit Johann Christian Jakob (Johan Kemper) und jüdischen Konvertiten im Allgemeinen

Níels P. Eggerz

Nicolas Faucher


Giles of Rome’s view of faith in the reportatio of his questions on book III of the Sentences (q. 38, d. 23) is founded on a likening of faith to rhetoric. The firm intellectual assent that characterizes them both is caused by the will, motivated by emotion, or affective bias. This paper argues that this is made possible by Giles’ move away from Aquinas’ position on the assent produced by rhetorical discourse, which Aquinas thought to be of little certainty, while Giles affirms that, based on the will’s natural control over the intellect, it can be as certain as faithful assent, and that the psychological process that produces it can serve as a model for that which produces faithful assent. The new function Giles gives to rhetoric underlines the evolution of thirteenth-century views on faith, as shown through a comparison of Giles’ view with two other doctrines of faith that use examples similar to the one Giles employs: those of Philip the Chancellor and Peter John Olivi. For the former, faith founded on affective bias is a typical example of non-virtuous faith, while for the latter, just as for Giles, it is the very model of virtuous faith.

C. Philipp E. Nothaft


This article edits and examines a little-known epistolary treatise datable to 1322, which survives in a fifteenth-century manuscript in the Herzog-August-Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel. The author of this work was engaged in a heated argument with the Parisian philosopher Jean de Jandun over the status and rationality of astrology. Jean’s pro-astrological stance is documented in a letter dated 28 October 1321, which survives for having been appended to the main treatise. In responding to Jean de Jandun’s letter, the author delivered a trenchant critique of astrology grounded almost entirely in philosophical, as opposed to theological, ideas, addressing issues such as empirical evidence, causality, and contingency. The author’s way of pointing out ruptures between astrology and Aristotelian natural philosophy marks him out as an intellectual precursor to the much better-known anti-astrological polemics written later in the same century by Parisian thinkers such as Nicole Oresme and Heinrich von Langenstein.

Peter Adamson


Giles of Rome’s On Ecclesiastical Power (De ecclesiastica potestate), a polemical work arguing for the political supremacy of the pope, claims that the papacy holds a ‘plenitude of power’ and has direct or indirect authority over all aspects of human life. This paper shows how Giles uses themes from natural philosophy in developing his argument. He compares cosmic and human ordering and draws an analogy between the relations of soul to body and of Church to state. He also understands the pope’s power to be ‘universal’ in nature, another idea taken from Aristotelian physics. Further, Giles views the pope’s right to intervene arbitrarily in the affairs of the Christian community as mirroring God’s ability to work miracles. We thus see that Giles, no less than intellectuals on the other side of this debate such as Dante and Marsilius of Padua, believed that Aristotelian natural philosophy could be enlisted in the service of political thought.

Chiara Beneduce and Paul J.J.M. Bakker


This article provides the first edition of a series of eight Quaestiones de secretis mulierum by (or ascribed to) John Buridan († ca. 1360). The introduction discusses the manuscript tradition and the relationship between Buridan’s quaestiones and pseudo-Albertus Magnus’ treatise De secretis mulierum, concluding that Buridan’s questions constitute a genuine commentary on pseudo-Albert’s text. Specifically, the eight questions by (or ascribed to) Buridan seem to be an extensive elaboration on the preface (prologus) and on the first chapter of pseudo-Albert’s text.

Yehuda Halper


At the end of the fifteenth century, the Castilian-Aragonian Eli Habilio wrote what is now the only extant, complete, and original Hebrew commentary on the entire Metaphysics of Aristotle. This commentary is short, about 15 folio pages long, and consists almost entirely of quotations from Averroes’ Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics in the early fourteenth-century translation of Qalonimos ben Qalonimos. Yet Habilio elsewhere expresses only disdain for Averroes and hopes that Jews will turn away from Averroes to read Scotus’ metaphysical works instead. The author’s claim is that Habilio’s Commentary is intended to supplement his translation of Antonius Andreas’ questions on the Metaphysics and provide a Hebrew summary of the most read Hebrew version of the Metaphysics (viz., Averroes’ Middle Commentary) that would choose its words in such a way as not to contradict Scotus and in some cases even to encourage its readers to seek out a Scotist approach.

William J. Courtenay


In recent decades the publication of additional documentary sources and doctrinal and prosopographical studies for the University of Paris in the 1330s has radically expanded our information about theologians in what was once an obscure decade. Using a variety of evidence, this article outlines what we now know about bachelors of the Sentences active at Paris in the 1330s, part of what the author once called “the dormition of Paris.”

Daniel Eggers

This paper discusses the juridical interpretation of Hobbes’s state of nature argument, which has been defended by commentators such as Georg Geismann, Dieter Hüning or Peter Schröder. According to the juridical interpretation, the primary reason why the Hobbesian state of nature needs to be abandoned is not that everybody’s self-preservation is constantly threatened. It is that, due to the universal right to all things, the jural order of the state of nature includes some kind of logical contradiction. The purpose of the paper is to show that the juridical interpretation does not do justice to Hobbes’s actual argument and that it starts from a false presupposition: being a Hohfeldian ‘liberty-right’, the right to all things can consistently be granted to all individuals at the same time.

Dirk Brantl and Daniel Eggers

Deborah Baumgold

Edgar Straehle

In this paper I examine how Hobbes’ philosophy can be read from an Arendtian perspective. I argue that Arendt provided two different interpretations of Hobbes: one set down in The Origins of Totalitarianism, where Hobbes is depicted as the spokesman of the emerging bourgeoisie; and another that she developed later, scattered among various texts such as The Human Condition and Between Past and Future. I focus on this second interpretation and on her analysis of concepts such as common sense, authority and sovereignty. Firstly, I examine how she changes the meaning of common sense, and how this shift is linked to what Arendt understands by the expression “estrangement from the world.” Secondly, I explain how Hobbes redefined the concept of authority and how his notion of sovereignty deliberately conflated the dual concepts of authority and power.

Dirk Brantl

This review traces recent developments in German Hobbes scholarship. Relevant publications are discussed along three major fields of inquiry: Hobbes and Liberalism, Hobbes on Politics and Religions, and Hobbes on the Passions, Politics, and Education.

The Reception of Hobbes in Germany and the Holy Roman Empire

Pufendorf, Christian Thomasius, and Hegel

Nathaniel Boyd

This article analyses how the reception of Hobbes in Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was determined within the context of the Holy Roman Empire. It argues that it is precisely this context that forms the peculiarities of the Hobbes reception in Pufendorf, Thomasius, and Hegel. It thereby offers a new way of viewing the development of the particular political theories of these three figures and their relationship to the English philosopher’s political thought.

Celi Hirata

This paper seeks to examine two moments of the subject’s identification with substance in modernity, namely, the body in Hobbesian philosophy and the individual substance in Leibnizian thought. In Hobbes, to be a subject signifies to be subjected (to imaginary space, to the movements transmitted by means of shock, as well as to the sovereign), so that the body-substance is characterized by not having in itself its principle of movement. In Leibniz, for his turn, a subject (understood as substance) is that which contains in its own nature everything that can be truly predicated about it, implying that it is the foundation and principle of its own activity, or, in a word, it is self-sufficient. Nonetheless, although Hobbesian body is characterized by its inertia and Leibnizian substance by its self-sufficiency, it is my purpose to indicate that the former is more crucial than the latter to the constitution of the modern conception of subjectivity, i.e., of the subject as the center of action and as a founding power, capable of establishing a new order by its decision. This is not possible in Leibnizian philosophy, for, according to it, human activity, like that of any other substance, consists solely in the actualization of the divine plan of the best of all possible worlds.

Blandine Perona


Before Utopus conquered the island, it was called Abraxa. To create its initial name, Thomas More shortened the name of a deity, invented by the Syrian Christian gnostic teacher Basilides, Abraxas. This note seeks to explain this change by studying the occurrences of the word Abraxas in Erasmus’ work (edition of St Jerome’s works, Praise of Folly). Abraxa then appears as an anamorphic name, an effort of wisdom and a sign of pride. The utopian wisdom is condemned to death. The dialogue between Erasmus and More through this word shows how much the anamorphic woodcuts of Ambrosius Holbein are an excellent illustration of what Abraxa/Utopia is: an ironic invention of a self-conscious pride.

Eric MacPhail

Willis Goth Regier


Erasmus was a fluent Aesopian. In books and letters he cited Aesop’s fables to explain, admonish, and insult. The Adagiorum Chiliades alludes to more than seventy different fables, including two adages about Aesop: “Ne Aesopum quidem trivisti” (2.6.27); and “Aesopicus sanguis” (2.6.63). The great adage “Scarabeus aquilam quaerit” (3.7.1) begins with Aesop’s fable. Erasmus’ own contributions to collections of fables were printed in Antwerp, Basel, Louvain, Strasbourg, Paris, and Venice. This paper examines Erasmus’ use of Aesop, identifies the fables Erasmus favored, and places his versions of fables in the history of Aesop transmission.

Ann Blair


This Margaret Mann Phillips lecture of 2018 examines Erasmus’s relationships with his amanuenses, building on the work of Franz Bierlaire (1968) and others. It especially considers when and why members of Erasmus’s familia appeared in print in his works. Mention of servants functioned in a variety of ways to allay the author’s responsibility for features of the text that might be criticized. Manuscript evidence also shows Erasmus working with his amanuenses in the preparation of publications and indexes in particular.

Peter Mack


Erasmus wrote his Paraphrases on the New Testament (1517–1524) at the climactic point of his literary career, just after his new edition of the New Testament, the humanistic edition of the Adagia and his edition of the works of St Jerome. This lecture asks why Erasmus gave so much time to paraphrase at such a key moment, what he hoped his paraphrase would give to early sixteenth-century Christians, and how his paraphrase clarifies, dramatizes and adds to the Biblical text. It analyses quotations from the paraphrases on Romans and the Gospel of Mark, relating to his historicization of the text, his criticism of the contemporary church, and his presentation of issues of law, grace and faith, the appropriate attitude to civic authority and Christian love. It compares Erasmus’ approach to teaching from the New Testament to his hero Rudolph Agricola’s Oration on Christ’s Nativity (1484) and to Philipp Melanchthon’s approach in the first version of his Loci communes (1521).

Non sum Oedipus, sed Morus

A Portrait of Erasmus’ Moria

Elisa Bacchi


This article aims to investigate the representative strategies of Moriae Encomium by taking into account the link between Erasmus’ Moria and Thomas More’s portrait as it emerges both from the Encomium Moriae and from the Utopia. Specifically, I will focus on the crucial role of Erasmus’ concept of omnium horarum homo as an ethical and aesthetic model applied to the definition of More’s nature. This approach, which explores the intertextual construction of Morus-Moria’s identity, shall allow me to stress the relevance of the metaphor of mundane masking in Erasmus’ Encomium and More’s Utopia. By considering Erasmus and More’s paradoxical combination of Plato, Cicero and Lucian of Samosata, I will show how the image of the world theatre becomes the symbol of Erasmus’ philosophia civilior based on the rhetorical and moral idea of decorum.