Comacchi, Maria Vittoria
Junior Fellow: October 2019–March 2020
Research Project: Is the Prisca Theologia a Doubting Device? Greco-Latin Astrological and Medical Lore in Hebrew Garb from the Perspective of a Renovatio Antiquorum
Humanists used sceptical arguments in different ways, firstly as instruments for rejecting Aristotelianism or other dogmatic authorities or in religious controversies, secondly in the new theory of knowledge, and, more generally, in the epistemological crisis, anticipating the post-Renaissance questions of whether we know something and if we know, how we know. In this context, the Neoplatonic cosmologies, theologies, and philosophies of love developed between the second half of the fifteenth century and the first decades of the sixteenth century may not be sceptical theories, but they can be considered to have been influenced and marked by sceptical arguments, doubting and rethinking both the privileges of religious authorities and the claims to knowledge. Aiming to contribute to the understanding of the prisca theologia as a sceptical device and the sceptical issue of the human system of knowledge being rejected in favour of the divine nature of God, the main focus of this research is an analysis of the astromythology and astrological medicine found in the second dialogue of the Dialoghi d’amore written by the Sephardic Jewish Neoplatonic philosopher and physician Yehudah Abarbanel (1465/70–1525/34), best known as Leone Ebreo, around the first decade of the sixteenth century between Naples and Venice.
Maria Vittoria Comacchi defended her European PhD (2019) in philosophy at Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia (Italy), supervised by Emanuela Scribano, on the renovatio antiquorum in Yehudah Abarbanel’s Dialoghi d’amore.