Journal of the History of Philosophy 47 (1):pp. 138-139 (2009)

John Monfasani
State University of New York (SUNY)
This volume cannot but call to mind The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy published twenty years ago under the editorship of Charles B. Schmitt and Quentin Skinner. The Cambridge Companion fares well in the comparison. The Cambridge History contained some weak or irrelevant articles, as well as articles that flatly contradicted each other, but its largest flaw was its artificial division of Renaissance philosophy, in almost cookie-cutter fashion, into synthetic themes that tended to obscure rather than illuminate historical developments and connections. Far more successful was what has, up to now, been unquestionably the best survey of Renaissance philosophy available, Schmitt’s and Brian Copenhaver’s Renaissance Philosophy that appeared in 1992, where the chapters are organized by schools of thought , and thinkers are presented in diachronic succession within each chapter. The Cambridge Companion combines many of the virtues of both volumes and, of course, brings the reader up to speed on the literature that has appeared in the last two decades
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DOI 10.1353/hph.0.0092
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