It was on this date, February 17, 1600, that Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned to death for his religious opinions at the Campo de’ Fiori in Rome. He was born Filippo Bruno, in 1548, in the Italian town of Nola, in Campania, in the Kingdom of Naples, and received a Neapolitan education. Bruno was brilliant and had an astounding memory. But in 1576 his education in the Greek-Arab culture of southern Italy, a legacy of the Saracens and anti-papal Frederic II – and his refusal to hold his tongue when discussing his original ideas (i.e., his theological heresies) – necessitated his escape from the order at age 28, first to Switzerland, then to France, to England, and finally to Germany.
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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
Hobbes opposed any positive revealed religion, including Christianity and he was neither the first nor the last freethinker to hide the light of skepticism under the bushel of belief.