The Naturalistic Theory of Religion in Pomponazzi's De Incantationibus and Its Significance



Year of publication 2020
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference O Humanismo Portugues e Europeu no 5o centenário do Cicero Lusitanus : Dom Jerónimo Osório (1515-1580)
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Keywords Pomponazzi; Religion; Naturalism; Reductive Explanation; Miracles; Prophecy
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Description This paper reconstructs the general theory of religion formulated by Renaissance Aristotelian philosopher Pietro Pomponazzi (1462-1525) in his treatise De incantationibus and highlights its importance within the intellectual history of the comparative study of religions. Following a brief overview of the two main theoretical approaches to religion – a naturalistic paradigm that is based on reductive explanation and a protectionist paradigm that denies the possibility of reducing religious experience to its more fundamental constituents – the paper argues that Pomponazzi's theory of the "horoscope of religions" and his reductive explanation of miracles and prophecies gave rise to one of the first wholly naturalistic approaches to religion in Europe since Antiquity.
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