[Owen counts Bruno among those who threatened Aristotle with subversion, p.72]
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Chap. V: Giordano Bruno (pp.245-344)
[Venice Inquisition - n.b. Arius & craft Jesus:]
The Inquisitors, probably puzzled at a scheme of theology, which, preserving the terms of Christian orthodoxy, interpreted them in a manner so novel, requested Bruno to repeat the outlines of his system. He readily consented, using nearly the same terms. They suggested that he had been accused of Arianism, to which he immediately answered, that in conversation he had more than once avouched his opinion that the doctrine of Arius was less pernicious than was commonly supposed. With equal readiness he replied to other allegations respecting his relation to the Church; maintaining that he held what the Church taught, at the same time admitting that he was to blame for not observing her rules more precisely; and promised amendment for the time to come. Being asked his opinion respecting miracles, he answered that he had always believed the miracles of Christ were  divine, true, real, and not pretended - consequently a secondary testimony of His divinity, as its higher attestation is the Law of the Gospels. He said he believed in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ really and substantially; only he excused himself for not attending mass, assigning as an impediment his excommunication. To the same impediment he ascribed his neglect of confession for sixteen years; although he held that the Sacrament of Penance was ordained to purge our sins, and he believed that every man dying in mortal sin would be damned. Brunos defence had already comprehended some of the counts of Mocenigos indictment; but more alarming ones still remained. Among other strange allegations, Mocenigo said, Bruno had told him that Jesus was a crafty personage, who might easily have foreseen His crucifixion, because He did crafty deeds to deceive the people - that He was a magician and performed apparent miracles, and so also did the apostles - that he himself had a mind to perform as many, and even more than they did. That there was no punishment for sin. That souls passed from one body into another, and are begotten of corruption as all other animals. That our faith is full of blasphemies - that the monks are apes. That St. Thomas and all the doctors are ignoramuses; and that he knew enough to put all the theologians in the world to silence - that he intended to apply himself to the Art of Divination so that all nations should run after him. That the usages of the Church then were not those the apostles employed. That the world could not last much longer as it was - that a general reform was needful - that on this point he hoped great things of the king of Navarre - that he was therefore anxious to publish his works so as to bring himself into credit, because he was sure of a place at the head of this reform, and would enjoy the treasures of others - that he was fond of women, and thought it no sin to obey the impulses of Nature.
Such an imbroglio of accusations, probable, specious and utterly absurd could only have occurred to a mind like Mocenigos, a combination of intellectual imbecility and gloomy fanaticism. To all these allegations Bruno gave a distinct and even vehement denial. When e.g. he was confronted with the charge of calling Jesus crafty, a doer of cunning works, his features assumed an expression of deep pain, while he exclaimed he did not know how such a thing could have been imputed to him. When he was further charged with terming Christ a magician, and saying he was confident he could do the same miracles that Christ and His apostles had done, he lifted his hand to heaven, and in a passionate tone of voice said, What thing is this? Who has invented this devilish accusation?  Not only have I never uttered such things, but they have never even crossed my imagination. God, what does this mean? I would rather die than say such a thing. He had himself given a list of his works to the tribunal. Of these he fully admitted the authorship and accepted the responsibility. He gave reasons why some, which were printed in London bore Venice or Paris on their title-pages. He added - not the least mark of the bona fides and candour which characterize Bruno in these trying scenes - that his writings sufficiently demonstrated the measure of his excellence; and that no examination of them would discover that he had sought to bring the Catholic religion into contempt. (pp.282-85.)
Giordano Bruno in a well-known sonnet brands the typical religionism of Rome with the name of Asinity. (p.76. Note: the poem is given on p.295:
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[Theory of coinciding contraries:]
And in other lines, which we may accept as his own description of his mental career, he says:
As Bruno thus inferred the Infinite from Nature, especially in the larger acception whcih modern astronomy has imparted to the term, so the qualities with which he endued [sic] it were similarly derived from the contents of Natures boundlessness and variety. Chiefest among these was the Union of Contraries. This is in truth, the key to Brunos system. In its very idea the Infinite will be complex and differentiated, not simple and uniform. This complexity Bruno discerned everywhere. It was the common attribute both of mind and matter, the chief quality of the primary substance underlying both. Discernible in the Infinite of Nature, it also characterized the Infinite of human reaons. What to some thinkers might seem contradictions and antagonisms mutually destructive of each other, he regarded as only different musical notes, which combine to make up a broad and rich harmony (symphonia). There is therefore, as you may observe, a close approximation in Brunos idealism to modern German transcendentalism, which accounts for the peculiar fascination he exercised on all its great luminaries from Jacobi to Hegel. (p.301; see ftn.)
[...] The apparent warfare of varying principles and laws in Nature, the progress by antagonism, is only the outward reflexion of the divine motions and impulses, doubts and opinions he found within his own being. [...] the more vigorous the intellectual development the more conscious is he of the conflict of contradictions of which it consists, the less disturbed by the contemplation of their adverse relations, and the more skill and experience does he acquire in neutralizing their varying aspects my merging them in wider generalizations. (p.302.)
Another correlative form of the idea of Infinity, Bruno denotes by the metaphysical concept of the One. Like the early Greek thinkers, he proclaimed as the issue his investigation, the whole is one. Oneness, verified the term of existence, as the Infinite characterized its immeasurable variety and extent, as the Absolute concluded its limitations and conditions. Here again the thought was suggested by Brunos Nature-investigations in combination with his powerful imagination. The convergence of multgfarious natural operations in the production of a single result is a fact frequently dwelt upon by evidential theology as a proof of the one mind or will which governs the universe. Bruno does not direclty employ the argument for monotheistic purposes, though indirectly his reasoning points in the same direction. (p.302; see ftn.)
[Quotes Bruno:] The supreme Being is the substance of the universe, the pure essence of all life and realty, the source of all  being, the force of all forces, the virtue of all virtues. (here pp.306-07; citing Profundius naturae uniusujusque fundamentum est Deus, in Op. lat., p.48; cf. Op. Ital., i, p.130.)
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Such is Nature in her totality grasped, as Bruno loved to grasp all of such concepts, from the point of view of the Infinite. What Nature is in detail in the relation of single parts to the enormous and composite whole he tells us in his Doctrine of Monads. These spiritual atoms stand in the same relation to the Infinite as a material atom stands to the physical universe. They constitute principles of continuity which underlie all transitory existence - the minute indestructible bases on which all individual beings are founded, and of which they are so many superstructures and developments. The monad is the centre of all activity in living beings, and of mere existence in inanimate things. Without itself possessing those attributes, it is the basis of everything that has movement, figure or extension. By its self-multiplication and division, by its countlessly diverse co-ordinations and associations, it becomes the actual cause of all the varied, processes and phenomena we see in Nature. The analogy on which Bruno founds and by which he explains his Monad Theory is the property of Numbers. [See ftn.]
The unit must needs enter into every possible combination of number, as its initial basis, its final constituent and its absolute measure. Similarly into all the different products of Nature, endlessly various as they are, enters the monad as the eternal unit of each. All beings, in whatever scale of existence, are only different aggregates of monads, and all natural processes, simple or complex, are only varied transformations and modifications of these primary units, just as all the operations of arithmetic start from the numerical unit. There will of course be a hierarchy among monads as in numbers. Highly endowed and complex beings such as man will consist of a far greater number of monads than beings of a lower order. Every species of being may be represented by its own lowest determination, which thereby becomes its own special monad, just as in arithmetic the number ten is taken as the basis or unit of the decimal system. Throughout the whole of creation, entering into every process and every form of existence, runs this chain of monads, as a permanent and living principle, ultimately ending where it begins with the Supreme Being.
The root-thought of Brunos monad-speculations is easily perceived. He makes the law and order of numbers subserve the same purpose in his scheme of philosophy as Spinozas universal substance does in his own system; the same office in point of fact which numbers have continually discharged in the history of philosophy from the time of Pythagoras downwards. It is his principle of cohesion and  uniformity applied to the details of nature-products and processes: hence it is only a crude mode of explaining such truths as are expressed by the correlation and conservation of forces, the perpetuity of energy, the laws of causation, gravitation, chemical affinity, and other formulas of the same kind with which modern science abounds. Perhaps we may go even further, and may regard the return to atoms and molecules which distinguishes some departments of modern thought, as a reproduction to a certain extent of such theories as Brunos monads; nor is it difficult to foresee that a still greater scope for speculations of a similar kind will inevitably mark the science of the future. The actual practical value of Brunos theories is of course nil; but the monads both of his own philosophy and that of Leibnitz, their descendants, will always retain historical interest, as connecting the speculations of Demokritus [Democritus] and the Greek atomists with those of scientists of our own day.
But, besides the order of natural processes, Brunos monads help to explain, at least to illustrate, the unifying or merging all contrarieties in an absolute oneness. Just as infinite number comprehends every conceivable numerical quantity, no matter how divergent from each other, so does the One include and involve every imaginable discrepancy and contradiction; however great their mutual differences. By this means, as we have observed, Nature loses all her antinomies; corruption and production, progress and regress, death and life, good and evil, beauty and ugliness, perfection and imperfection, form component elements, unit-sums of varying amounts, of the same absolute innumerable whole. As also all numbers form a series leading from one to infinity, so do the processes of Nature, in harmony with our own instincts, tend towards the Infinite: Brunos conception thus harmonizing with St. Pauls words, The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together. (p.311.)
[Continues - Pantheism:]
But though I admit Brunos Pantheistic leanings, and his frequently expressed affection for the Divine which exists in Nature, neither this nor the cognate abstractions of the Infinite and Absolute, so far as they express definite and final attainment, are the supreme objects of his passionate love. Of all of these he admits the inherent incomprehensibility. Like Lessing, he prefers search for truth to discovered truth; or as he is a poet almost more than a philosopher, we may compare him to Sir John Suckling and his preference for desire as superior to fruition. In this respect Bruno is, as I have already hinted, a complete skeptic; as one who loves and searches for; what he is aware he cannot attain. Brunos mistress, like that of so many platonizing thinkers, is ( intellectual Beauty - the passion rather than its object, or the passion transformed and elevated to an object. He describes her charms with an ardent tenderness and ecstatic rapture which a material and human object of passion could hardly have inspired. The work in which he does this is called Gli eroici furori, and we may take it, I think, as a philosophical sursum corda! the point where his idealism becomes sublimated and con- secrated into a cultus. M. Bartholmèss has well observed how Bruno attempted in this work to bring about a revolution in Italian ideas respecting love. The poetry of the Troubadours, of Dante and Petrarca, had, while eliminating, or at least refining, the more sensual elements of the earthly passion, exalted it to an extravagant and absurd excess. Treading in the steps of Plato and Plotinus, Bruno wished to divert the sentiment in another direction, and to another object - not the human form, with its attributes of perishable- ness and mortality, ought to be the object of the wise mans affections; but divine beauty and spiritual wisdom, which is invisible, unchange- able, and imperishable, nay, which is but one aspect of God Himself. (p.312; end page.)
Reading Brunos Eroici furori, one is forcibly reminded of Schleiermachers glowing description of Spinoza as a God-intoxicated man:  Ihn durchdrang der hohe Weltgeist; das Unendliche war seine Anfang und sein Ende, das Universum seine einzige und ewige Liebo; in heiliger Unschuld und tiefer Demuth spiegelte er sich in der ewiger Welt: Voller Religion war er und voll heiligen Geistes; und darum steht er auch da allein und unereicht, Meister in seiner Kunst, aber erhaben über die profane Zunft, ohne Jünger und ohne Burgerrecht! With a trifling modification of one or two terms, this magnificent eulogy is as applicable to Bruno as to Spinoza. Indeed, of the two I think the author of Gli eroici furori is a few stages further advanced in God-intoxication than even Spinoza. That a man capable of conceiving such a noble and elevated object for human affections, of being permeated by such a divine passion, [n.1.] should have actually suffered death as an atheist, must be pronounced one of the most monstrous perversions of justice which defile the pages of history. Unhappily, it is not a solitary instance of the irony which occasionally overrules human destinies, and with diabolical humour prescribes slavery as the lot of lovers of liberty, compulsory falsehood or the stake as the destiny of lovers of truth; as well as persecution and death as an atheist for the God-intoxicated enthusiast. [n.2]
The relation which Brunos idealism bears to his free-thought, and his vehement vindication of the rights of the human conscience, both public and private, is a distinguishing feature of his speculations. Mans reason being an integral part of the universal reason, partakes also of its qualities; it is therefore both necessary and absolute. As such it forms the true basis both of morality and of speculative freedom. Bruno thus anticipates Descartes in laying stress on the reason, or consciousness, as the supreme principle of knowledge. Both reason as the intellectual, and conscience as the ethical, organ of truth are free and autonomous, partaking as they do of the unrestricted liberty of their Creator. Indeed, the knower and the thing known do not exist, except so far as God knows them. All clearness, all evidence emanates from Him. Senses, conscience, reflexion, reason, all the modes and stages of intelligence, the different branches of knowledge, all the efforts of mind and of wisdom, need that divine  light, which, itself inaccessible like the sun, still irradiates all objects within its luminous sphere. It is because every perception, every knowledge, whether of the senses or the mind, has God for its first source, for its principal organ, that man ought to rely implicitly upon verifiable evidence. God does not deceive, nor can He be deceived. He cannot deceive because he is unable to will deception, His will being as perfect as His knowledge. Truth therefore, so far as attainable, is manifested by enquiry and research ; and all reasonable methods of pursuing it are to be followed freely and fearlessly, with the conviction that whatever deficiency may arise from the inevitable limita- tions of our senses and knowledge, is not to be compared with the dense ignorance which must result from their entire disuse.
Bruno therefore concludes that the human mind, by its native instincts and operations, is made for knowledge and for freedom. No bounds indeed can be rightly placed to the speculative and imaginative powers of man. In this respect the microcosm is a reflection of the macrocosm, sharing its most peculiar attribute of infinity. Hence any repression of research is an indignity offered, through man, to the Highest Reason which he shares. He lays it down that thought, by its own free spiritual nature, cannot be the object of punitive justice; for if sincere it can be no offence to God or to human law. Thus personal, and in a considerable degree, political freedom, is the outcome, the dictate, of his own mental constitution. The limitless character of his thoughts and speculations he transferred, as far as possible, to his practical and political life. The process no doubt was, or might have been, somewhat dangerous; but political liberty in the sixteenth century was by no means sufficiently advanced to run the risk of encountering such dangers. Nor was Bruno unaware that the social and political condition of men necessitated some limitations; though to every concession in this direction he is careful to add the proviso that the philosophical and religious freedom of the individual should be as much as possible respected.
Having thus brought before you a few of the salient points in the philosophy of this most remarkable thinker, it is time to sum up this part of my subject.
Bruno was one of those gigantic intellects, those myriad-minded men whose multifarious erudition, eclectic methods, and many-sided sympathies render a summary of their operation very difficult, if not impossible. Like a survey of a widely-extended landscape, or an enormous building, the conspectus will only be a piecing, more or less rude and imperfect, of separate and fragmentary points of view. Employing his own illustration of the infinite powers and feelings of the human mind, we might almost say, of his own intellect, that its  centre is everywhere, its circumference nowhere. A child of the sixteenth century, his speculations comprehend and his sympathies embrace methods of thought current in ancient times on the one hand, and in our own day on the other. The immense range of his studies is proved by the fact that there is hardly an author, certainly not a subject known in his day, to which he does not seem to have paid attention, and on which he has not thrown some light.
1. To us his chief interest arises from his skepticism. The nature and extent of this I have already glanced at. As in the case of so many other philosophical enquirers it was, perhaps, more in intent than reality, limited and methodical. Bruno doubted to know. Skepticism was the foundation of his philosophy and his science. Surrounded by despotic powers and principles, philosophical, religious, and political, which demanded a blind submission from every man, Bruno boldly protested against them all. They were so many external restrictions and antiquated prejudices which possessed no inherent validity except so far as they received the approval of a mans own conscience. Hence he opposed himself to Peripateticism, to scholasticism, to mediaeval science, and Papal Christianity. He even carries I his opposition to the ruling convictions of his time further than his own system of thought appears altogether to warrant. For although e.g. he himself places such stress on abstractions, he attacks the abstract ideas of scholastic logic in the true spirit of nominalistic criticism. The truth moreover that he finally attains by his idealism is so far imperfect and indemonstrable that his highest knowledge consists in a direction rather than a goal, an effort than an achievement, a perpetual struggle than a definite crowning victory. He also shares with Galileo, [Cf. Berti, Il Processo originale di Galileo Galilei, p.xxx. [5-line Italian quotation from Gallileo follows] and other thinkers of the time, the conviction of a distinct separation between theology and philosophy, and is so far a maintainer of double truth. Indeed this doctrine could have presented no difficulty to a thinker who regarded truth as essentially multiple, though its various forms and aspects finally met and were united in the absolute one. Nor can it be said that the final merging of his own idealism in the mystic cabbala of Raymund Lulli imparted the conviction of absolute and demonstrable truth for which he had been searching all his life. [...; 316.] (pp.313-16.)
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[Quotes sonnet by Tansillo which is generally accepted as being written by Bruno, who adopted it in his own writings:]
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[Quotes Schioppus:] Thus burnt, he perished miserably; he is gone, I suppose, to recount to those other worlds imagined by himself the way in which Romans treat blasphemous and impious men. (Bartholomew, I, p.338.)
[Trevor:] We need not again reopen the general question, discussed in our Bruno chpater, how ar a certain amount of Pantheism is a necessary ingrediation in Christian orthodoxy, and involved in the ascription to Deity of such qualities as omnipresence, &c. Bruno, no doubt, had pantheistic tendencies; tough, as we saw reason to think, he was a religious if not a Christian Pantheism. (p.413.)