November 09, 2005

Savonarola, Tyndale, Servetus, Bruno

Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) Heresy Excommunicated Tortured Execution Rome, Italy: On the 7th of April 1498 an immense throng gathered in the Piazza della Signoria to enjoy the barbarous sight. Two thick banks of combustibles 40 yards long, with a narrow space between, had been erected in front of the palace, and five hundred soldiers kept a wide circle clear of the crowd. Some writers aver that the piles were charged with gunpowder. The Dominicans from one side, the Franciscans from the other, marched in solemn procession to the Loggia dei Lanzi, which had been divided by a hoarding into two separate compartments. The Dominicans were led by Savonarola carrying the host, which he reverently deposited on an altar prepared in his portion of the loggia. The magistrates signalled to the two champions to advance. Fra Domenico stepped forward, but neither Rondinelli nor Fra Francesco appeared. The Franciscans began to urge fantastic objections, and, when Savonarola insisted that his champion should bear the host, they cried out against the sacrilege of exposing the Redeemer's body to the flames. NNDB
William Tyndale (1492-1536) Heresy Execution : Though long an exile from his native land, Tyndale was one of the greatest forces of the English Reformation. His writings show sound scholarship and high literary power, while they helped to shape the thought of the Puritan party in England. His translation of the Bible was so sure and happy that it formed the basis of subsequent renderings, especially that of the authorized King James Version of 1611. Besides the New Testament, the Pentateuch and Jonah, it is believed that he finished in prison the section of the Old Testament extending from Joshua to Chronicles.
Michael Servetus (1511-1553) Execution : Physician and polemic, considerable attention was attracted by his first publication, De Trinitatis erroribus (1531). It is crude, but original and earnest, and shows a wide range of reading very remarkable in so young a man. The religious views of Servetus, marked by strong individuality, are not easily described in terms of current systems. His denial of the tripersonality of the Godhead and the eternity of the Son, along with his anabaptism, made his system abhorrent to Catholics and Protestants alike, in spite of his intense Biblicism, his passionate devotion to the person of Christ, and his Christocentric scheme of the universe.
Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) Rome, Italy Excommunicated Execution :To Bruno, as to all great thinkers, philosophy is the search for unity. Amid all the varying and contradictory phenomena of the universe there is something which gives coherence and intelligibility to them. Nor can this unity be something apart from the things; it must contain in itself the universe, which develops from it; it must be at once all and one. This unity is God, the universal substance -- the one and only principle, or causa immanens -- that which is in things and yet is distinct from them as the universal is distinct from the particular. He is the efficient and final cause of all, the beginning, middle, and end, eternal and infinite. By his action the world is produced, and his action is the law of his nature, his necessity is true freedom. He is living, active intelligence, the principle of motion and creation, realizing himself in the infinitely various forms of activity that constitute individual things. To the infinitely actual there is necessary the possible; that which determines involves somewhat in which its determinations can have existence. Brunos writings had been much neglected when Jacobi brought them into notice in his Briefe über die Lehre Spinozas. Since then many have held that Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz were indebted to him for their main principles. So far as Descartes is concerned, it is highly improbable that he had seen any of Bruno's works. Schelling, however, called one of his works after him, Bruno.

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