The Eight Theses of Giordano Bruno: Point 7, Anima Mundi

The Eight Theses of Giordano Bruno: Point 7, Anima Mundi

Point seven, in the Inquisitor’s list of eight theses against Giordano Bruno, for which the cardinals turned him over to the secular authorities to be executed, reads like this:

7) The allocation of a “both sensory and intellectual” soul to earth.

 This is an allusion to Thomas Aquinas’ ideas on the human soul. Thomas distinguished between the sensory, nutritive, and intellectual human soul:

We must assert, then that the soul in man is one in number, at once sensory, intellectual and nutritive.

The sense-soul does not owe its incorruptibility to itself but to the true fact that it is at the same time an intellective soul. Therefore when a soul is merely a sense-soul it is corruptible; when it has both sensation and intelligence it is incorruptible (De Anima).

Aquinas believed these characteristics applied to the human soul, not the Anima Mundi. Ever the rebel, Bruno rocked the cardinals’ world with his doctrine of the World Soul.


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