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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 83, Issue 1, Winter 2009

Jan-Hendryk de Boer
Pages 51-78

Faith and Knowledge in the Religion of the Renaissance
Nicholas of Cusa, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, and Savonarola

Although the fifteenth century showed some signs of traditionalism and disintegration, there were also highly original new solutions to long-debated problems in scholastic and humanistic discourse. As for the relation between faith and reason, Nicholas of Cusa, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, and Savonarola found new ways to integrate these poles, around which theological and philosophical thought was organized. As a common pattern, one can discern a striving beyond the established systems of humanism and scholasticism, mingling elements of both traditions with those from the movements of spiritual reform in the later Middle Ages. This “striving beyond” was possible due to a performative turn in the fifteenth century: thinking and acting were connected by the narrator or the author in a manner that produced theoretical concepts and acts in social reality by writing, thinking, and actively developing the self.

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