Marco Lamanna

Marco Lamanna

Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fellow
The Reception of Italian Renaissance Humanism in Protestant Metaphysics (Schulmetaphysik) between the XVI and XVII Centuries


Marco Lamanna (PhD 2008) is qualified as an Associate Professor of History of Philosophy according to the Italian Ministry of Education, Universities and Research. He has been a Researcher at the Faculty of Theology (Chair of Philosophy) of the University of Lucerne, within a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (2016). Lamanna was a Researcher at the Scuola Normale Superiore and Fellow in some German libraries (Gotha, Wolfenbüttel). His monograph, La nascita dell’ontologia nella metafisica di Rudolph Göckel (2013) and other studies focus on modern theology, ontology, and psychology, showing the link between the Italian Renaissance and Jesuit and Protestant metaphysics. In 2017, he was awarded The Natalie Zemon Davis Prize.

Project Summary

Beyond Italian Renaissance humanism, another period characterized by opposition to Aristotle and Aristotelianism was that of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther’s interdict against Aristotle’s Metaphysics is well known. However, about a century after this ban, and about two centuries after the beginning of the Plato-Aristotle controversy in Italy, the Protestant Reformed philosophy began to draw upon not only Aristotle’s Metaphysics, but also Renaissance humanist Italian authors and some of their Neoplatonic models. Rather than being anti-Renaissance, the Reformation was transformed by key aspects of Italian Renaissance thought in the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The project will examine some case studies in which the reception of Lorenzo Valla, Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico, Mario Nizolio, Giordano Bruno, and Tommaso Campanella was relevant for structuring the new Central European tradition of metaphysics (the so-called Schulmetaphysik). Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel studied these Protestant handbooks. Through Italian Renaissance authors, some Neoplatonic elements (especially from Plotinus, Proclus, and the Liber de causis) emerge like a Karst phenomenon within German Protestant (Aristotelian-based) metaphysics and theology. This phenomenon will be analyzed by examining the tension between monism and pluralism of substances, immanentism and creationism, priority of God on being and priority of being on God, supertranscendental and transcendental concepts.