Denis Robichaud

Denis Robichaud

Jean-François Malle Fellow
Controversies over God and Being in the Italian Renaissance
Denis Robichaud


Denis J.-J. Robichaud earned his PhD from Johns Hopkins and is Associate Professor of Philosophy in Notre Dame's Program of Liberal Studies, Medieval Institute, and Italian Studies. He has published on ancient, medieval, and Renaissance Platonism and Neoplatonism, traditions of ancient philosophy, the philosophy of religion, Renaissance humanism, the history of scholarship, and manuscript studies. University of Pennsylvania Press published his book Plato’s Persona: Marsilio Ficino, Renaissance Humanism, and Platonic Traditions in 2018. He is translating Ficino’s Advice Against the Plague, and is co-editor of Marsilio Ficino’s Cosmology: Sources and Receptions, and is editing Ficino’s unprinted Latin translations of Iamblichus and Theon of Smyrna.


Project Summary

Controversies over God and Being in the Italian Renaissance is a book and translation project on Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s De ente et uno (On Being and the One). It examines how Giovanni Pico worked on ancient Neoplatonism and medieval ontologies in order to answer traditional questions from Medieval metaphysics with new Greek texts. It also aims at explaining how Giovanni Pico, playing the part of a scholasticus, understood Dominican theology. Giovanni Pico’s debates with friends over the nature of God and reality at a Medici villa quickly spread like storms not just over Christianity, but also Judaism, Islam, paganism, and religion per se. Many intervened: university professors and poets, like Antonio Cittadini and two Benivieni brothers; Savonarola and Dominicans in Florence; the philologist Angelo Poliziano; Giovanni Pico’s polymath nephew Gianfrancesco Pico; the expert of Arabic and Jewish philosophy Elia del Medigo; and Marsilio Ficino, whose Platonism Giovanni Pico first targeted. As part of the project Robichaud will translate into English all of the major texts involved in the controversies surrounding the De ente et uno for the first time, including works by Giovanni Pico, Cittadini, Gianfrancesco Pico, and del Medigo. At its core, the project asks whether medieval and Renaissance philosophy of religion was possible outside of a theological framework.