Pietro Pomponazzi was well trained and versed in philosophy, both of his own time and of the ancient Greeks. In fact, in 1488, he joined several prestigious schools in Padua as a professor of philosophy, where he studied and lectured for nearly two decades. He was later a professor of philosophy at Ferrara. He composed numerous philosophical works and was a prolific writer until his death in 1525.
Pomponazzi was well integrated into the philosophical circles of the northern Italian Renaissance. He was a close colleague of Alessandro Achillini and other scholars of classical philosophy. As such, Pomponazzi was exposed to numerous new ideas of the time as well as older concepts of philosophy and thought.
One characteristic of Pomponazzi that made him a good philosopher was that he was not afraid to challenge Church doctrine. Several of his works, such as De immortalitate animae, Apologia, and Defensorium, directly contradicted Catholic concepts of the nature of the soul and earlier doctrine as defined by Thomas Aquinas. While this put him in personal danger and led to the censorship of his works, Pomponazzi's disregard for Church orthodoxy allowed him to excel as an independent thinker. Despite these contradictions, Pompanazzi still considered himself a Catholic. His ability to explain this paradox in his own thinking and beliefs shows his adaptability as a thinker and made him one of the great philosophers of the Renaissance.