Giordano Bruno burned at the stake today

Bronze statue of Giordano Bruno by Ettore Ferrari (1845-1929), Campo de' Fiori, Rome.Today is the day Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake for his pantheist beliefs.

Bruno (1548-1600) insisted that the earth revolved around the sun, that there are infinite worlds inhabited by intelligent beings, and that the sun is essentially a star. For these and other beliefs, he was burned as a heretic.

Paul Harrison, in his book Elements of Pantheism, suggests taking the day to remember the importance of religious freedom and tolerance.

6 Comments on “Giordano Bruno burned at the stake today

  1. oh yes …. this is worth remembering: I mean Giordano Bruno is worth remembering … to quote John Crowley on Bruno: “Bruno was one of the earliest Western philosophers to posit that the physical world is infinite. He believed that the stars were suns, like our sun, and that around them other planets circled. (He also thought that the planets were great conscious beings, who went in circles around their suns because they chose to.) He understood that his conception of an infinite universe implied the absence of a center: the universe was a sphere whose center was everywhere and circumference nowhere, a Scholastic theological paradox that Bruno took as physical fact. He thought he stood at the center of an infinite universe extending eternally outward, but he thought every other mind was also at that center. He held an atomic theory of matter in which every one of the infinite number of atoms that compose the infinite universe has an infinity at its center, an illimitable power Bruno called “soul,” a quality from which we derive our own aliveness (since we’re made of atoms) and which he took to pervade the universe just because the atoms fill it up, even where we perceive emptiness or vacuum, touching each other at their spherical perimeters.
    Bruno wasn’t a scientist; his mathematics were primitive and his physics speculative. But his thought went further than any of the time’s protoscientists: Copernicus, Galileo, who are now denominated the forebears of our science. It wasn’t only that he conceived of an infinite populated universe; he also described an infinity of stuff within it, and within the human person responding to it.” … a sentient and omnicentric Universe

  2. If Wikipedia is to be believed, he was burned primarily for his pantheism. So besides Bruno and Hypatia, are there any other martyrs that we could claim as our own? 🙂

  3. I JUST finished a book on Bruno but missed the eerie synchronicity that his death was this week! Check out “The Pope and the Heretic” by Michael White–great stuff on Bruno.

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  5. Hello B.T. Newberg,
    I am sending you a thank you on behalf of Lori Bruno who is the descendant of Giordano Bruno and she wishes to thank you from the bottom of her heart for remembering him in such a beautiful way.

    He was a brave man who faced the Inquisition of the ten Cardinals and when they pronounced the death sentence upon him, he bravely stood there and said to them “you who pronounce this sentence upon me do so with greater fear than I who receive it.” And with that he walked into the halls of the Mighty Ones.

    Again, thank you for remembering him.

    Lori Bruno

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