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Montaigne’s Gods

  • Alberto FrigoEmail author
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Part of the International Archives of the History of Ideas Archives internationales d'histoire des idées book series (ARCH, volume 229)

Abstract

According to Montaigne, ‘we cannot condignly conceive’ the nature and actions of God ‘if we are able to conceive them at all. To imagine them condignly, we must imagine them unimaginable, unutterable, incomprehensible’. These criticisms, directed at Raymond of Sebond, lead implicitly to the promotion of a radically negative theology. Yet, even if ‘human reason goes astray […] when she concerns herself with matters divine’, it is still possible to elaborate a discourse on God which speaks ‘condignly’ of His nature as beyond our power to comprehend. Moreover, it is in the literature of pagan antiquity that Montaigne finds the elements of this more ‘religious’ theology. This chapter examines Montaigne’s annotations on Lilio Gregorio Giraldi’s treatise, De deis gentium varia et multiplex historia (‘The Varied and Manifold History of the Pagan Gods’, 1548), as well as the comparison between Christian and pagan theology sketched out in the Essais.

Abbreviations

MS

Michel de Montaigne. 2003 [1991]. The Complete Essays, ed. Michael A. Screech. London: Penguin

MT

Michel de Montaigne. 1998. Essais, ed. André Tournon, 3 vols. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale Éditions. Cited by volume, page number, followed by the reference to the Essais’ book and chapter. We quote the text of the Essais from MT.

MVS

Michel de Montaigne. 2004 [1965]. Les Essais, ed. Pierre Villey and Verdun–Louis Saulnier, Paris: Presses Universitaire de France.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Filosofia ‘P. Martinetti’Università degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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