Nicholas Cusanus Criticism - Essay

Luis Martínez Gómez (essay date 1965)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Gómez, Luis Martínez. “From the Names of God to the Name of God: Nicholas of Cusa.” International Philosophical Quarterly 5, no. 1 (February 1965): 80-102.

[In the following essay, Gómez reviews Cusanus's efforts to find or create an accurate name for God, tracing his progress from De Docta Ignorantia through the last years of his life.]

If they should say to me: What is his name? what shall I say to them? God said to Moses: I am Who Am.

Ex. 3: 13-14.


The Middle Ages had no problem about God. This has been affirmed and...

(The entire section is 9420 words.)

James E. Biechler (essay date 1975)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Biechler, James E. “Nicholas of Cusa and the End of the Conciliar Movement: A Humanist Crisis of Identity.” Church History 44, no. 1 (March 1975): 5-21.

[In the following essay, Biechler discusses Cusanus's role in the conciliar movement and examines his treatise on the subject, De Concordantia Catholica. Biechler argues that personal concerns and the influence of Italian humanism, which tended toward the creation of a cultural elite, were key factors in his move away from more democratic ecclesiastical reforms.]

The ignominious end of the conciliar movement in the mid-fifteenth century strikes many contemporary historians and theologians as one of...

(The entire section is 10518 words.)

Jasper Hopkins (essay date 1981)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Hopkins, Jasper. Introduction to Nicholas of Cusa on Learned Ignorance: A Translation and an Appraisal of De Docta Ignorantia, pp. 1-43. Minneapolis, Minn.: Arthur J. Banning Press, 1981.

[In this excerpt from his edition of De Docta Ignorantia, Hopkins explicates the Cusan concept of “Maximum Absolutum.” Hopkins also provides a brief introduction to the whole work and its emphasis on the human inability to know any given thing perfectly, although limited knowledge is possible.]

A mélange of intellectual tension and excitement pervaded the Universities of Heidelberg, Padua, and Cologne, where Nicholas of Cusa (1401-64) studied in the early...

(The entire section is 9212 words.)

Clyde Lee Miller (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Miller, Clyde Lee. “Perception, Conjecture, and Dialectic in Nicolas of Cusa.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 64, no. 1 (Winter 1990): 35-54.

[In the following essay, Miller explicates Cusanus's theory of perceptual knowledge, particularly as found in De Coniecturis and Idiota de Mente, in order to argue that the idea of multiple perspectives was the foundation of his search for God. Miller describes Cusanus's method as a dialectical approach encompassing both oneness and otherness.]

Nicholas of Cusa's thought has an extraordinary power and resourcefulness still relevant to our contemporary concerns and our own thinking. In this...

(The entire section is 8841 words.)

Donald F. Duclow (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Duclow, Donald F. “Mystical Theology and Intellect in Nicholas of Cusa.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 64, no. 1 (Winter 1990): 111-29.

[In the following essay, Duclow discusses how Cusanus uses the notion of learned ignorance to link mystical thought and intellectual thought. Focusing on De Docta Ignorantia, Apologia Doctae Ignorantiae, De Visione Dei, and De Filiatione Dei, Duclow shows how Cusanus moves beyond the mystical theology of Dionysius and Eckhart.]

Mystical theology and intellect may seem ill matched, if we limit mysticism to emotional rapture and visionary experience. Yet they form a consistent—indeed,...

(The entire section is 7684 words.)

Louis Dupré (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Dupré, Louis. “Nature and Grace in Nicholas of Cusa's Mystical Philosophy.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 64, no. 1 (Winter 1990): 153-70.

[In the following essay, Dupré outlines Cusanus's efforts to bridge the gap between immanence and transcendence, a divide driven by the rise of nominalist thought in the late Medieval era. Observing Cusanus's debt to Meister Eckhart and Neoplatonism, Dupré finds that Cusanus's understanding of nominalist theology anticipated its modern consequences: the absolute separation of the natural and the supernatural.]

Hans Blumenberg in his influential The Legitimacy of the Modern Age insists that modern...

(The entire section is 7614 words.)

James E. Biechler (essay date 1991)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Biechler, James E. “A New Face Toward Islam: Nicholas of Cusa and John of Segovia.” In Nicolas of Cusa: In Search of God and Wisdom, edited by Gerald Christianson and Thomas M. Izbicki, pp. 185-202. New York: E. J. Brill, 1991.

[In the following essay, Biechler situates Cusanus's position on Islam in the context of earlier Christian thinkers, particularly his friend John of Segovia. Biechler finds that Cusanus, like Segovia, had a more ecumenical view of Christian-Muslim relations than most of his contemporaries.]

Whether or not one sides with R.W. Southern in considering the label “Renaissance of the twelfth century” a term of “sublime...

(The entire section is 8215 words.)