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Giordano Bruno

1548-1600. Italian Renaissance philosopher. He joined the Dominican Order* in 1562, but later was accused of heresy and fled, abandoning the Dominican habit in 1576. Thereafter he wandered through Europe, teaching in France and England, and visiting Wittenberg and Prague. In 1592 he returned to Italy and was arrested by the Inquisition.* After eight years' imprisonment at Rome he was sentenced as a heretic and burned. Bruno was a devotee of the Renaissance Hermetic tradition. Based on the writings of Hermes Trismegistus, who was supposed to have been an Egyptian sage who foretold Christianity and inspired Plato, this belief encouraged the use of magic and the worship of the sun (see Hermetic Books). Although he opposed Aristotle, Bruno did this on Hermetic grounds and not because he cared for Copernicus's mathematical proofs. His two major works are On the Infinite Universe and Worlds and Concerning the Cause, Principle and One.