Pomponazzi, Pietro

Pomponazzi, Pietro a famous Italian philosopher, was born at Mantua in 1462, and after studying at the University of Padua became a professor of philosophy in his alma mater. He also taught and wrote at Bologna with the highest distinction. Although small in stature-for he was almost a dwarf-he yet astonished his contemporaries by his remarkable intellectual power, and became one of the most eminent men of his times. He had frequent disputations with the famous Achillini, whose puzzling objections would have confounded him had it not been for his skill in parrying them by his keen wit as well as by a sharp-cutting logic. He used to apply himself to the solution of difficulties so very intensely that he frequently forgot to eat, drink, sleep, and perform the ordinary functions of nature; nay, it made him almost distracted, and a laughing-stock to every one, as he himself tells us. He died in 1525. He wrote De Immortalitate Animae (1516), in which he maintains that the immortality of the soul cannot be proved by philosophical (or natural) reasons, but depends solely on revelation, which he accepts. This precaution, however, did not save him from attacks, and many adversaries rose up against him who did not scruple to treat him as an atheist; and the monks caused his book, although he wrote several apologies for it, to be burned at Venice. Another work of his on Incantations was also regarded as dangerous. He shows in this that he does not believe in magic and sorcery, and lays a prodigious stress on occult virtues in certain men by which they produced miraculous effects. He gives a great many examples of this, but his adversaries do not admit them to be true, or free from magic. See Bayle, Dict. Hist. s.v.; Niceron, Mnmoires, vol. 25; Olearius, De Pomponatio (Jena, 1705,4to); Buhle, Geschichte der neueren Philosophie, vol. 2; Ueberweg, Hist. of Philos. (see Index); Neander, Christian ) Dogmas (see Index); Lecky, Hist. of Rationalism, 1, 370; Fisher, Hist. of the Reformation, p. 542; Alzog, Kirchengesch. 2, 222; Morell, Hist. of Philosophy (see Index); Ranke, Hist. of the Papacy, 1, 63, 64, 377.

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