Like many Renaissance philosophers before and after him, Charles de Bovelles invokes the name of an ancient hero to embody a philosophical ideal, in his case the ideal of Wisdom. His choice fell on Prometheus, whom he, however, does not remember as the benefactor of Greek mythology who brought fire to humankind and, then, became the fallen Titan chained to a rock in the Caucasus, his liver to be devoured by an eagle daily. In Bovelles’s philosophy, Prometheus is a triumphant figure.
He is Man himself who finds in himself the means to elevate himself to the heights of immortality.
As a result, it is Man who brings down the heavenly flame of wisdom to give life to his body of clay. Unlike the ideal of the wise to be found in the very rich sapientia-literature of his age, Bovelles’s wise is a divine hero who is his own creator. For the sake of a contrast the lecture will first discuss Giordano Bruno whose philosophical heros - unlike Bovelles' glorious Prometheus - needs to face death and destruction in order to achieve self-transformation.
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