Giordano Bruno, 1548 - 1600

Giordano Bruno was an Italian Dominican monk whose beliefs about pantheism and materialism were at odds with the Catholic scholasticism of his time.  He maintained an essentially Neoplatonic world view in which God was defined as a world of soul encompassing all nature in an infinite and ever-changing universe.  New England Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Theodore Parker, encountering Bruno in the writings of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, were inspired by the broad identification of infinite deity with omnipresent nature.  Bruno became a martyr when the Catholic church executed him at Rome for his beliefs.