During this sexcentenary of the birth of Nicholas of Cusa, there is an almost ineluctable temptation to super-accentuate Cusa’s modernity—to recall approvingly, for example, that the Neokantian Ernst Cassirer not only designated Cusa “the first Modern thinker”1 but also went on to interpret his epistemology as anticipating Kant’s.2 In this respect Cassirer was following his German predecessor Richard Falckenberg, who wrote: “It remains a pleasure to see, on the threshold of the Modern Age, the doctrine already advanced by Plotinus and Scotus Eriugena, received [by Cusanus] so forcefully that time, numbers, spatial figures, and all categories ... are brought forth out of the creative power of the mind.”3 Others have proclaimed Nicholas to be a forerunner of Spinoza,4 of Leibniz,5 of Hegel,6 and, indeed, of German Idealism generally.
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