What's coming in 2023

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Happy New Year! I thought I might take this chance to share what you can expect here on the podcast in the coming year.

As before we'll continue doing the "European" and "non-European" series in alternating weeks. The Africana series is projected to finish around the end of 2023. Lots of exciting stuff to come there still, including in the first few months of the year episodes on topics including South Africa (Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko), Amilcar Cabral, Walter Rodney, Afrofuturism, and Black Feminist authors. Chike and I should be sending the manuscript for volume one of the Africana Philosophy off to the publisher soon: that will cover the story up to 1900, so the first two sub-series up to episode 65.

Once the Africana series concludes we'll move on to the eagerly anticipated series on classical Chinese philosophy, which I will co-author with Karyn Lai.

On the "European" side we'll continue looking at the European Reformation. Much of 2023 will be taken up with looking at philosophy in 16th century England and Scotland. That series will kick off with episode 416 on March 12. Here's a preliminary episode list; as usual, let me know if you see any omissions!

The English Reformation (focus on Cranmer)

The Scottish Reformation (focus on Knox and Buchanan)

British Humanism

English Political Thought (e.g. Fortescue, Hooker)

Thomas More

English literature (e.g. Spenser, Sidney)

Shakespeare and Philosophy 

Shakespeare’s Tempest

Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Renaissance Individualism


Devotional Literature by Women (e.g. Kempe, Anne Locke)


British Scholasticism

Northumberland Circle (Warner, Hill, Harriot)

Theories of vision

William Gilbert

John Dee

Robert Fludd

Elizabethan Exploration

After this series, I'll move on to the Counter-Reformation, with lots of coverage of scholastic thought in Spain and Portugal. This means we will probably (finally!) get to the 17th century in late 2024.



Karl Young on 2 January 2023

lots to look forward to

Hey Peter,

Thanks for the update; lots to look forward to, e.g. the  Chinese Philosophy series (even though the ending of the Africana series will be a little sad).

But I’ve been meaning to express my appreciation for Sun Ra’s ever so brief cameo in the Black Arts Movement segment. And given the upcoming episode on Afrofuturism it looks like he might have a shot at slightly more time (nudge, nudge :-)). I’ve been a little disappointed that when people mention important Afrofuturists like Octavia Butler, who deserve the attention, they also often seem to be unaware of Sun Ra’s foundational role. And as much fun as his stage shtick was, and as shrouded in imagination as his philosophy was, after reading a lot by and about him, I found his vision extremely coherent and well expressed. It seems to me that Afrofuturism wouldn’t have grown and flourished like it has without his founding vision.

In reply to by Karl Young

Peter Adamson on 2 January 2023

Sun Ra

Oh you're going to be very happy! The Afrofuturism episode is already written and Sun Ra is discussed in it at length, in fact I think is the figure who gets the most attention in it.

Andrew Maclaren on 2 January 2023


Really exciting for the rest of the Africana series! Especially for the episodes on south africa for personal reasons and the black feminist authors as just a big interest of mine. Hopefully the Brixton Black Womens Group gets a mention, if not given much attention to (partly because I don't really know how important they are to give proportionate attention to, and because I can imagine you are already far along in the script writing when you learned about them).

Everything else is also really exciting. It is going to be a very interesting year in my opinion from your podcast. Cheers Peter and Chike (and eventually Karyn as well!) for all the hard work and fascinating content!

In reply to by Andrew Maclaren

Peter Adamson on 2 January 2023


Thanks! I already had made a note to look into the Brixton Group when we get to those episodes, thanks for the suggestion.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Andrew Maclaren on 2 January 2023


Looking forward to it!

Small side thing quickly, the link given in the notification email gives me a bad certificate warning when I click on it for some reason. But the regular page doesn't for me. The difference in the url seems to be the www included in the email, which isn't included when I normally look up the podcast. Just a heads up.

In reply to by Andrew Maclaren

Peter Adamson on 2 January 2023


Ok thanks! We'll take care of it.

Nerina on 20 January 2023

Sol Plaatje

Hi Peter,

Will you be talking about the South African thinker Sol Plaatje in the Africana section?



In reply to by Nerina

Peter Adamson on 20 January 2023


Hm, I guess not since we are past him chronologically. I have to admit his name was new to me; glancing at Wikipedia the information there doesn't scream "philosopher" but as you can imagine I'd be curious to hear an argument for why he should be or should have been covered. I guess we have included other figures who are often considered more as "literary" (like, most recently, Lorraine Hansberry) so I can imagine he might have just as good a claim for inclusion.

In reply to by Nerina

Chike Jeffers on 28 January 2023

Yes we will

Peter's reply is understandable based on chronology but I've always been planning the Mandela episode as one that puts him in the context of other thinkers associated with the ANC, and thus Plaatje will indeed be part of the story (though if your hope was for an episode focused on him, then, in that case, I must disappoint).

Guruhoc on 26 January 2023

"African philosophy"

The fact that you've devoted only 62 episodes to the rich Indian philosophy and you've already gone past 116 episodes to "African philosophy", which is not even a philosophy, but an uninterrupted complaint of those who try to use race to gain benefits, shows that one of the goals of the podcast is to please influential political groups.

In reply to by Guruhoc

Peter Adamson on 26 January 2023

Africa vs India

I think mostly I'll just leave this comment here for others to judge for themselves, but I would like to clarify that in theory at least the plan is to have another series of the same length on later Indian philosophy. If all goes according to plan (or at least hope), both series would be two volumes' worth of material. The same for China, which will be one series/book on classical China but hopefully eventually a further series and book on later developments. 

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Guruhoc on 27 January 2023

You claim you'll leave my…

You claim you'll leave my comments to others as if social pressure would make a difference, but I don't care. It is stupid to call "African philosophy" the theories of individuals who have never set foot in Africa and who have nothing to do with African culture just because they are black. 

With the exception of color, Martin Luther King Jr is as African as Donald Trump, his militancy was based on Christianity and not voodoo. This part of your podcast is not about philosophy, it's about ideology, a distinguished history of philosophy professor like you understands that better than anyone. 

Anyway, I'm pleased to hear that the series on Indian philosophy is planned to return. I hope your detour into identity politics doesn't last too long. Thanks for the answer.

In reply to by Guruhoc

Peter Adamson on 27 January 2023

African philosophy

Out of curiosity, how much of the series have you listened to? I notice that you don't even seem to be aware of the fact that it is about "Africana" and not "African" philosophy, and what the significance of that might be - something we have discussed at length in the series (I say this not just because you are using "African" but because you wouldn't have made this point about King otherwise).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Guruhoc on 27 January 2023

I've seen more than 350…

I've seen more than 350 episodes of the original series, I'm going to stop and wait for the other Renaissance books to be released, because I prefer to listen while reading to facilitate my notes. From your series on black ideology, by my dissatisfied comment you must have already realized that I didn't watch any episode and I won't. 

As I said earlier, the only connection between the characters is that they are all black. Appealing to the neologism will not make your choice seem more logical, much less make Malcolm X worthy of occupying space in the history of philosophy. 

If you really think you were sincere in your selection, do a series called "Aryan philosophy" with episodes about Hitler, Mussolini, Julius Evola, Giovanni Gentile and others. They deserve just as much space as the Black Panthers. I bet that those who applaud you today because of the series on "black ideology" will accuse you of being a "dangerous Nazi" for not having left this "gap".

In reply to by Guruhoc

Peter Adamson on 28 January 2023

Africana philosophy

I'm reminded of a line from a comedy routine from the Smothers Brothers (my parents had it on vinyl), concerning a Broadway show: "I'm an American. I don't have to see something to know I don't like it!"


But seriously: the rationale for the Africana (not "African") series is laid out in the first episode but it really requires listening to a lot of the series to understand how it fits together. Obviously the point is not just that all these thinkers were black. Rather, there are complex arguments and intellectual traditions that weave together things like ancient Egypt and pan-Africanist political movements in the 1960s. But it sounds like you aren't going to listen to it so you will never know what you are missing, which is a shame - I get the sense that you are really someone who would benefit from learning about this.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Guruhoc on 28 January 2023

As a rule, the maxim that…

As a rule, the maxim that you need to read/listen to before judging, but this series is one of the exceptions. If someone writes a book about "Lady Gaga's philosophy", I would also be legitimate to say that the work is not really about philosophy without having to read it. There is a limit. 

It is clear that your perception that I would benefit from the series on black ideology stems from the belief that I need to feel compassion for a socially oppressed group, in line with the theory of Karl Marx and his successors. Not because it would bring me more knowledge of the history of philosophy. This is precisely my point.

I understand your decision not to want to take the risks of getting into the argument that your podcast will only really be without gaps now if you have a series about "fascist intellectuals". 

Finally, we can only hope that you don't create a new series on "feminist philosophy" to feature alongside a feminist who wants to wipe out the males of the planet. Have a great day.

In reply to by Guruhoc

Peter Adamson on 28 January 2023


Actually, if I get that far I would definitely cover the philosophy of the fascists; I mean, if nothing else I would have to talk about them when getting into Heidegger and the reception of Nietzsche. Between now and then I will also cover philosophical justifications used to justify racist oppression and colonialism. (To some extent we have done that in the Africana series already, to explain what the figures we cover are reacting to.) I think one could indeed do a podcast series on the intellectual basis of fascism/totalitarian thought, or on the history of racism; that would be interesting. But I think it will be more naturally covered as part of the more general coverage of early modern European philosophy (and later periods), since it is woven into the fabric of European thought and can be covered within that context. 

I guess if you are refusing to listen to the Africana series because you somehow know that it couldn't possibly be interesting at a philosophical level, then I can just wish you enjoyment with the rest of the project; no one is obligated to consume the whole thing. But I can say from my own experience that I personally have learned just as much about the history of philosophy from doing the Africana series as I did from doing the India series, namely a whole lot! 

Maybe part of the problem is that you are making assumptions about what must go on in the series, without having listened to it - like, that it is 100+ episodes and counting of leftist political lament or ideology, or whatever. But the series has covered interesting perspectives on all kinds of topics anyone would presumably count as core philosophical issues, e.g. personhood (Yoruba ideas about the mind and its relation to the body), time (Mbiti's theory of African perceptions of time), the relationship between philosophy in oral and literary form, debates within socialism, nationalism and the very concept of nationhood, whether violence can be justified, and, yes, feminism. Also the series looks at a lot of nuanced debates within the Africana tradition, so a lot of what we are talking about is - far from being some kind of singing from an ideological hymn sheet - about disagreements over the aforementioned issues between Africana thinkers that have been ongoing for a few centuries. We even covered Africana thinkers who are skeptical about the concept of African or Africana philosophy. Obviously I can't explain it all here, but maybe this gives you a glimpse at why it has taken us so long to get through the series and why it is worthwhile, even beyond its political significance (which I certainly do not deny).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Guruhoc on 28 January 2023

Discussing the relationship…

Discussing the relationship with fascism of some mainstream philosophers like Nietzsche and Heidegger is something that any professor of philosophy usually does. This is different from creating a special series with intellectuals unknown to the general public like Giovanni Gentile and Julius Evola or specific episodes about the Blackshirts. That's exactly what you did to black ideology and I'm sure if you gave the same treatment to fascists you'd be called a Nazi. 

Both black ideology and feminism were a strand of Marxism based on subjective revolution, which no longer has the proletariat as a revolutionary agent. Authors such as Antonio Gramsci and members of the Frankfurt School occupy a prominent role here. Without attending your course, I can bet that Marxism is a recurring theme. One can learn a lot about politics, sociology and history by studying Malcolm X and the Black Panthers objectively and impartially, but they definitely shouldn't take up space in a history of philosophy. 

Please understand that for part of your audience that loves philosophy it is irritating to go to the site in search of new episodes and find one with the title "Black Power". I will follow your advice to follow the rest of your work. I hope my comments serve as a well-meaning warning that philosophers do not cave to mass pressure. Socrates will not receive you as an equal in limbo if the project suffers the perverse influence of political militants.

In reply to by Guruhoc

Andrew on 29 January 2023

This all seems a little silly

I've been reading through this thread as a third party observer, and I have to say this all seems a little silly. As someone listening to both the main series and the non-western philosophy track, including Africana, a lot of these complaints and points seem either a gross simplification or just outright false or just unsupported assertions.

The first thing I would say is that calling it "Black Ideology" seems to turn it all into a monolith and without depth, especially when you try to tie it all in as a "strand of Marxism". Of course, especially in the 20th century Marxism is going to come up a lot, just like how Liberal ideology and concepts come up when we get to modern philosophy, or how Christianity and God do come up all the time when going over Medieval philosophy. All three were/are hugely influential, and you can't not talk about them when going over the three time periods I mentioned for Marxism, Liberalism, and Christianity respectively. I don't see what is so special about Marxism coming up given that. Unless you don't consider Marxism philosophically interesting. And besides, the claim that "Black Ideology" or even the entirety of Feminism are both "strand[s] of Marxism" is just outright wrong. Feminism existed before Marxism was a thing, and a lot of the philosophers Peter has gone over pre date Marx (I mean, the first section of the series was about pre colonial philosophy, so unless time machines are a thing I don't think you will find Marxism there).

That last part brings me to the second point, not all of it is "political". The whole pre colonial section should make that obvious. And even though the slavery/diaspora and 20th century sections are very political, even then not everything is, or at least not directly or necessarily so. Take Amo for example.

Third and finally, you just seem to assert that all of it is just unphilosophical without giving any reason why. Why shouldn't King for example have a spot in a history of philosophy podcast that prides itself on not having any gaps? Same for Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party etc. You never give any explicit reason as to why. Is it because they were very political or militant? Lots of philosophers in the western philosophy track were. Should Peter not give a spot to Thomas Jefferson and the other American founding fathers? Or to use an even better example, Robespierre? Is the reason that they didn't cover philiosophically interesting topics? That would just be incorrect, they all did, and they all gave reasons and arguments for their positions that show they had thought about said issues a lot. And it wasn't all just self contained either, they interacted with and grappled with people outside the Africana tradition as well. Take Amo, King, or even one of the Panthers making a joke about how they were talking about the implications of Godel's incompleteness theorems and wondering what a hypothetical FBI agent listening in on that conversation would be thinking. Is the reason Marxism? While it does come up a lot, not everyone was a Marxist, and even if that was true, is Marxism not philosophically interesting? Marx himself is considered a very important philosopher. And some people were against Marxism anyway and its ideas. Take Betancourt for example, who had mixed feelings about the Cuban revolution, came up with ideas about class that are at variance with a traditional understanding of Marxism, and came down against the revolution after he was kicked out, concluding that it didn't help further the black struggle. Even if you have a distaste for Marxism, that isn't a reason to exclude it from the podcast. If the problem is with the category itself (Africana Philosophy), like Peter says the first episode grapples with that, and it isn't just about skin colour. There is (I would say a healthy amount anyway) debate around that category, but it is the same for the category of "Western Philosophy", "Indian Philosophy", "Chinese Philosophy" etc.

Sorry for the long rant. You don't need to watch the series if you don't want to, but like Peter said, I think you would learn a lot! I know I have, anyway. And this is far from saying you should sympathise with the struggles Black people have (I think people should, but putting that aside). To take an example, I think Du Bois' philosophy of science is interesting and worth considering like other philosophers of science. If you ever get time, I would recommend listening to at least a few, especially the first episode. Even if you stop after, that should clear a lot of things up.

In reply to by Andrew

Longtime Listener on 30 January 2023

Let’s Wrap It Up …

Well said! Looking forward to what lies ahead. Something here for everyone where all voices are heard.

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Thomas on 14 February 2023

Not political but heavily USA-biased

The series is not political, however it is very heavily USA and English speaker biased. Once you leave the Africa section, nearly everyone you discuss is either from the USA or an English-speaking British colony, with a few exceptions. There were huge movements of people from Africa to Portugueuse and Spanish speaking colonies also and I find it hard to believe they did not also produce interesting philosophy.

2nd, The US philosophers in the series mostly discuss issues specific to African-Americans. This is indeed worthwhile philosophy, but mostly relevant to a small subsection of one country. Another series could be done on every ethnic group in every country in the world, it would probably be interesting, but would it be the best use of time for a podcast seemingly on the history of world philosophy? I would say no. It's understandable that you want to give attention to a marginalised group in your country, but in my view, this is not the avenue for it (at least not when such a huge philosophical tradition as China is still without a series).

The initial series on African philosophy is good, but the Egypt and Babylon sections should've been in the Ancient Philosophy section, and the West Africa section should have been part of the Islamic philosophy series, since those are the traditions they are in.

Also, the criticisms you mention in the initial episode are all completely correct, it's a sub-group of European philosophy mascaraded as 'non-Western'. Perhaps it may be interesting again now that you seem to have gone back to Africa, I haven't yet picked up those episodes.

It's just a shame that the Chinese philosophy series has been put off for so long just to talk about a specifically US-centred group because you and your collaborator are both Americans. I can't help wonder about the future, whenever the podcast series ends, which philosophies or philosophers will you miss because you spent so much time on this US-specific series.

In reply to by Thomas

Peter Adamson on 14 February 2023

US based

Well, looking at the 20th century figures we have covered so far, though it's true we covered a lot of American thinkers we have also done episodes on the Negritude movement in general, Senghor, Cesaire, Fanon, Betancourt, Azikiwe and Awolowo, Nkrumah, Nyerere, Cabral, and Mandela; in upcoming episodes we have figures like Biko, Nascimento (from Brazil!), and Glissant. Also quite a few of the "American" figures we've covered are actually from the Caribbean, like Garvey, CLR James, and Claudia Jones. So I think the series is far from being America-centric. Maybe you just have that impression because, as you say, you haven't listened to the whole series.

Of course you're right that a lot of Africana philosophy also fits into European or American philosophy; but as I always say there is no one "right" way to split things up. In the case of Egyptian and Babylonian philosophy, I think we could have done Egypt either in the Classical Antiquity part or the Africana series. You are of course right that Babylonian doesn't make that much sense as part of Africana, that was more a case of using this as an occasion to pick up on something I'd missed out (a gap!). 

As far as waiting for China goes, I know that people have been waiting for that with anticipation which is great, but bear in mind that series like these don't just pop into existence without lots of preparation and planning. I have been talking with Karyn Lai about the China series for more than a year and we are working on scripts in advance, so the lead-up time will actually be very beneficial to that series, or rather, will make it possible for us to do it at all. So the way you are thinking about it, like, every week spent on Africana is just delaying China, is not really how it works in practical terms. In the end I think/hope both series will be useful contributions, but I would be surprised if years from now, looking back on all this, I consider the Africana series to be anything other than one of the most important parts of the project, maybe the most important. After all there are other overviews of classical Chinese philosophy, and though I hope Karyn and I will present a fresh and worthwhile take on it (as I think we did for India, thanks mostly to Jonardon), no one else has come anywhere close to providing what we have done with Africana (which is definitely thanks mostly to Chike!).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Andrew on 14 February 2023

US based

I do think he has a point about the series being US-centric, or at least african-american centric. Sure, you have covered a lot of people not from the US or that are african american, but the US/african americans still seems to dominate. To do a rough and not rigorus check (which would be hard given some of the blurry examples), I count roughly 25, that are based around people/topics that are mostly in the US context: 

69 (American Negro Academy)
70 (African american thought at the turn of the century)
72 (African American socialism)
73 (Vanessa on Marxism, you could challenge me on this one since I don't fully remember it but I am going off the fact that this was the interview episode to African American socialism)
77, 78, 79 (Harlem Renaissance, an african american cultural movement/event and Alain Locke who was a figure of that movement)
80 (African American professional philosophers)
81 (another challengeable addition since I don't remember this one too much either but after checking wikipedia most of his historical work was about african american history)
83 (Harlem Renaissance again)
84, 85 (D.E.B Du Bois)
89 (criticism of the Harlem Renaissance)
94, 95, 96 (The three mostly wrote in the context of the african american condition)
97, 98, 99, 101 (This should be obvious)
108 (african american playright)
109, 110 (BBP were an american political party)
111 (African-American political activist)
112, 113 (113 is half a point maybe, since you do talk about south africa, but otherwise the focus in both are movements in America)

That is 25 out of 49 episodes so far, or a little over half. Of course, some I will concede are questionable and we could remove them from the count, but there are also some others that I didn't include that could be (82 for example, which I thought was enough about Africa that I wouldn't count it, but I could make the argument that this was still an African American women). But as long as you take my list as good enough besides arguing a few here and there who would or wouldn't be counted, that is still a huge percent. What makes this even worse is how few episodes we have covered which is either from people or events in Africa itself (again, this can be blurry but), which is roughly 6:

71, 87, 103, 104, 114, 115, 116, 117

If we want to count Fanon, that would add 3, getting us up to 9 with 105, 106, and 107. But still though, as long as you take my list as roughly accurate, that is incomparable to the previous lists even if the top list was haggled down and the bottom one haggled up.

This is quite a shame to me, as much as I liked the series and have learned a lot from it, it is very dissapointing that a lot of it has been devoted to just African-American thinkers or their context, and by comparison a dearth of people or events from Africa when this is an Africana series.

In reply to by Andrew

Peter Adamson on 14 February 2023

Africa vs American Africana

Well, Chike might want to have a say on this but a few thoughts off the top of my head: for starters we should definitely count Fanon as non-US, who was from the Caribbean and active in Algeria and to my mind is a candidate for most important figure in the whole series, along with Du Bois. 

Something else you are failing to take into account is the number of thinkers from Africa we covered in series 1, who were active in the 1960s and following, like Oruka, Mbiti, Wiredu, p'Bitek, and Hountondji. If you throw those in, I think North American figures are in a clear minority in series 1 and 3. Also, as I mentioned in my previous comment above, a lot of the figures you are counting as "Americans" were actually from the Caribbean, not US born or US citizens (cf. the difficulties Claudia Jones faced as a result!). Furthermore some of the Americans spent time in Africa: even in cases where the visits were brief, they were sometimes decisive, an obvious case being Malcolm X. So Africa itself is a big part of the stories of those figures too. 

(Having said all that, there were a lot of American figures covered in series 2 from the late 18th and 19th centuries, so thinkers from the Americas overall may still predominate in the whole Africana podcast.)

More fundamentally though, I think the premise behind the challenge is kind of spurious: like, this is a series on Africana thought, i.e. philosophy in Africa and the diaspora. There is no reason, prima facie, to think that diasporic thinkers wouldn't wind up being half, or even the majority, of those covered. The diaspora was big, chronologically lengthy, and offered many opportunities for unique kinds of philosophy, e.g. of course philosophy about slavery was happening mostly (though not entirely) in the diaspora which is why diasporic thinkers loom large in series 2.

So I think the real question would be more like, are there specific thinkers from Africa we should have covered but didn't? Because if so, then we would obviously want to remedy that, e.g. in the book version, if we can manage it. I don't think though that there would be an argument for devoting less attention to the disapora just on principle. 

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Andrew on 15 February 2023

non us

To be clear, the second count wasn't non-US, it was either people from Africa or that in some way they were reacting to what was going on in Africa enough to have a "African" perspective, whatever that would mean, which is why Fanon was debatable since he wasn't born in Africa but the Algerian revolution certainly had a huge impact on him. And the second count was just to be a contrast with how many people we covered in North America vs. Africa itself (at least so far anyway).

The first of of your second paragraph is fair, series 1 might be affecting how many are in series 3. As for the second half, I very carefully made sure not to count them. Claudia Jones isn't included, neither is Marcus Garvey Or C.L.R James.

To your point about Diaspora vs. Non-Diaspora, the challenge wasn't that we need to devote more time to Africa compared to everywhere else, it was "Look at how many North Americans we have covered here, in contrast to how many we have covered from Africa itself!". It was specifically about how many North Americans there has been, which shouldn't be conflated with the entirety of the Diaspora haha.

As to your final question, I honestly don't know. But Africa is a huge continent, with so many people on it. To be fair, there has been a lot of political turmoil on it which might be affecting how many people can become philosophers or dedicate their time to saying something philosophically interesting enough to be on the podcast, but that is still a very small number of episodes we have done which is about Africa so far. And, as Thomas said, there must be a lot done by the people who migrated.

Well I say I don't know, but I guess it depends on what we actually count as Africana philosophy. If someone who was born in Africa and has done interesting stuff philosophy wise counts, then Samir Amin might count? But I don't know if he would really fit into the series too much.

Johannes Berglein on 28 January 2023


Dear Peter, 

many thanks for your update, I´m so excited about what is to come!

I know we will still have to wait a little bit, but since we all know you are foresighted scholar, I had two questions on the Counter-Reformation series.

a) How will you manage the problem of the unavoidably confessional naming of this period? It is true that the term "Counter-Reformation" is prefered by the majority of historians, but its negative connotations (as it were, the attempt of the Vatican to undo all kinds of reform) and its patently Protestant origins (I think it was Leopold von Ranke who coined the term) have been questioned, with more benigne terms like "Catholic Reformation" or "Catholic Revival" been proposed. Since it seems to be impossible to find a neutral, "a-confessional" name, I was wondering if you will argue explicitly for the use of "Counter-Reformation".  

b) Are you planning to do an episode on Giles of Viterbo? As a Cardinal and avid reformer of the Church, but also enthusiastic Platonist and Cabbalist and friend of many humanists, he seems to be perfectly located at the intersection of the Renaissance and Reformation series. Maybe he could be a figure to begin with?     

Johannes Berglein on 5 May 2023

Giles of Viterbo

If you are planning to do an episode about Giles of Viterbo (which would be a sheer pleasure for most of the listeners, since he is such an interesting figure), I can only recommend the study by John W. O´Malley: "Giles of Viterbo on Church and Reform". Furthermore, Giles´ commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, which is full of mythology, robust Platonism and some other things you wouldn´t expect to have been written by a sententiarius, has been edited not long ago. I can only beg for this ideal beginning of the Counter-Reformation series!   

In reply to by Johannes Berglein

Peter Adamson on 5 May 2023


Great suggestion! I have added him to my list of figures to cover when I do the counterreformation.

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