(ORDO NEWS) — He could enter without a report to the English queen Elizabeth I and taught the mnemonic techniques of Henry III. He was a skilled debater and could easily prove that black is white and the moon is the sun. An unknown force brought him to the best palaces in Europe and kept him from the Holy Inquisition for a while. But one day her magic ended.
Giordano Bruno – a short biography and his discoveries
Among atheists, there is an opinion that Giordano Bruno was burned by evil Catholics, burned by evil Catholics because he dared to study science and was a supporter of Copernicus’s heliocentric system, which allegedly contradicted what was written in the Bible. They overlook the fact that the sciences – astronomy, mathematics, chemistry and philosophy – were preserved and developed in the monasteries in the Middle Ages.
Who are you, monk?
Here ancient treatises were kept, books were copied, and monks wrote works on geography, which were told to them by travelers or wandering colleagues traveling to distant countries with the preaching of Christ.
If at that time you wanted to do science, you had to say goodbye to the world and become a monk.
Our hero was born into a soldier’s family near Naples in 1548. As a boy, he was sent to study in Naples. At the age of 15, he entered a novice in a Dominican monastery and two years later was tonsured a monk under the name Giordano.
In 1572, at the age of 24, Bruno was ordained a priest and transferred to the provincial town of Campania. He became a free-thinker early. Some time before he was ordained, he wrote the satirical work “Noah’s Ark”, which is clearly anticlerical in nature. There was more than enough pride and vanity in the young priest.
Already in 1575, they began to suspect him of reading literature prohibited by the Vatican and even initiated an investigation against him. Bruno did not wait to see how it would end and went first to the north of Italy, and then to Switzerland, a country famous for its Reformation. There he changed his beliefs and declared that he was a Calvinist. In 1579 he entered the University of Geneva, but at a dispute he was caught deviating from the canons of the Protestant faith.
Then Bruno, not discouraged, moved to France. In Toulouse, he received the title of Master of Fine Arts and lectured for two years on philosophy and Aristotle. The views of Bruno himself differed from the views of the Greek, but the ideas of Arius, who doubted the divine nature of Christ, slipped in the lectures.
Then Bruno moved to teach at the Sorbonne, where he met King Henry III. To win the favor of the monarch, Bruno wrote several literary works in honor of the king, after which Henry III invited him to the court. However, even here Giordano Bruno did not linger, and when they began to convict him of ideas that were far from not only Catholicism, but also from Christianity in general, he asked Henry III for letters of recommendation and moved to London, where he lived at first under the auspices of the envoy of France Michel cases Movisieres, and then got a job teaching at Oxford. As you may have guessed, he did not stay in the new place again: having quarreled with the local teachers and the management, Bruno returned to London, where he continued to write works, among which were “On Infinity, the Universe and Worlds”, “The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast”,
It is believed that he “tried to convince Londoners of heliocentrism,” but the British had no time for scientific novelties. Even the “progressive” philosopher Francis Bacon did not appreciate the system in which the earth revolved around the sun.
At the age of 37, Bruno returned to Paris, where he published a new course of lectures on Aristotle, and then left for Germany, where he unsuccessfully tried to find a job. Finally, he got a job teaching in Marburg, but the local management did not appreciate his ideas either, and he was forbidden to lecture.
A more cordial welcome awaited him in Wittenberg, but even there he stayed for only two years, after which he moved to Prague, where from his pen came out works that were already completely far from science: “Magic of the Sages”, “Magic of Medical Alchemical”, “Magic necromantic”, “Magic demonic” and so on.
In the “popes” of the Inquisition
In 1589 he went to Helmstedt, in 1590 to Frankfurt am Main, and in 1591, at the invitation of the Venetian Giovanni Mocenigo, came to Venice. A wealthy aristocrat wanted the great Bruno to teach him the mnemonic techniques for improving memory, which he developed 10 years ago.
Was this a trap of the Holy Inquisition? Maybe. Quite quickly, the relationship between a rich student and a poor scientist deteriorated. A denunciation was sent to the Inquisition of Venice, in which Mocenigo accused Bruno of the fact that the scientist was confident in the plurality of worlds and in the infinity of the Universe, which in itself was impossible for a Christian.
Mocenigo accused Bruno of directly declaring in conversations: the Virgin Mary could not give birth, Christ is not God, but a magician who tried with all his might to avoid crucifixion, that there is no hell and that the souls of people and animals migrate from one creature to another.
At the end of May 1592, after the third denunciation, Bruno was imprisoned, and in September a request came to Venice from Rome – the Roman Inquisition wanted to consider the case of its lost lamb itself.
In February 1593, Bruno was taken to Rome, where he spent six years in the prison of the Inquisition.
They talked to him, he was summoned to disputes, he was threatened, he was persuaded. It didn’t come to torture – he was too famous. But he rejected any dogma that could not be verified by experience or logically, and behaved like a prophet. It got to the point that he called himself, the son of the Sun and the Earth, a professor of “the purest and most harmless magic, who was applauded by the most noble people.”
This lasted until 1600, when on January 20, Pope Clement VIII approved the general decision to transfer the scientist to the secular authorities. The Tribunal of the Inquisition recognized Bruno as “an unrepentant, stubborn and unyielding heretic”, deposed him from his dignity, excommunicated him and handed him over to the court of the Roman governor with instructions to punish “without shedding blood.” In the death sentence there was not a word about the planetary system or about other sciences.
On February 17, Bruno was burned in Rome at the Square of Flowers.
The testimonies of his death are contradictory – some historians attribute various clever phrases to him, others write that the heretic had a gag in his mouth.
Smug and stubborn
How did the “new philosopher” Bruno imagine the universe?
Now it is obvious that developing the idea of Copernicus’s heliocentric system and realizing that there can be many planets in the Universe, he, instead of doing science, went to the other extreme – he considered that Copernicus, other astronomers and mathematicians were just a tool for metaphysical knowledge the world. Obviously, his faith in Christ was unstable, and the first scientific discoveries that did not agree with the old picture of the world forced him to abandon it and begin to build a different system in his mind.
He rejected the idea of the antagonism of the Earth and Heaven and hit the occult teaching – hermeticism. Instead of moving forward, he rolled back into dense paganism. He believed that the world consists of five magical elements: stone, water, fire, air and ether. He believed that a person can comprehend and use the invisible forces that permeate the Universe. The keys to the powers were held by Trismegisg, a deity who combined the features of Hermes and the god Thoth. It was simply impossible to be a Christian with such convictions, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Bruno was treated so cruelly. However, he was honored a hundredfold by the liberals of the 19th century. They lifted the proud man to heaven, erecting a monument to him, seeing themselves in it. So the apostate became a symbol of rebellion against the “old world”.
The personality of the philosopher also influenced the opinion of the judges. Even his fans admitted that Bruno was pompous and arrogant, valued only his own opinion and could not tolerate those who disagree with him.
It can be assumed that when a scientist was expelled from one university or another, the hatred was directed not against his scientific ideas, but concerned his personality, which causes rejection in people.
The issues of the arrangement of the Universe were repeatedly discussed by the Inquisition during the investigation of the scientist, but the only thing that the tribunal pointed out to Giordano Bruno is that Copernicus’s theory is not particularly consistent with the Bible.
Actually, the official position of the church on this issue in 1600 did not yet exist. This was not a heresy, although it could to some extent affect the decision of the tribunal.
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