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Giacomo (or Jacopo) Zabarella (5 September 1532 - 15 October 1589) was an Italian Aristotelian philosopher and logician. He was accused of atheism[1] for the notable chapter "De inventione æterni motoris"[2] in his De rebus naturalibus libri XXX.



Zabarella was born into a noble Paduan family. He received a humanist education and entered the University of Padua, where he received a doctorate in 1553. His teachers included Francesco Robortello in humanities, Bernardino Tomitano in logic, Marcantonio Genua in physics and metaphysics, and Pietro Catena in mathematics. In 1564 he succeeded Tomitano in a chair of logic . In 1577 he was promoted to the first extraordinary chair of natural philosophy. He died in Padua at the age of 56 in 1589. His entire teaching career was spent at his native university. His successor was Cesare Cremonini.


Title page of Opera logica (1578).

Zabarella's work reflects his teaching in the Aristotelian tradition. His first published work was Opera logica (Venice 1578), followed by Tabula logicae (1578). His commentary on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics appeared in 1582. His great work in natural philosophy was De rebus naturalibus, published posthumously in 1590. It constituted 30 treatises on Aristotelian natural philosophy, the introduction to which was written only weeks before his death. His two sons edited his incomplete commentaries on Aristotle's texts, also published posthumously (the commentary on the Physics (Aristotle) in 1601 and the commentary on On the Soul (1605)[3].

Zabarella consulted newly recovered Greek commentators such as Alexander of Aphrodisias, Philoponus, Simplicius and Themistius, as well as medieval commentators like Thomas Aquinas, Walter Burley and Averroes. Unlike some earlier scholastic philosophers, he read Greek, and was therefore able to use the Greek text of Aristotle. He devoted much effort to presenting what he considered to be the true meaning of Aristotle's texts.


  • Opera Logica (1578)
  • Tabula logicae (1580)
  • In duos Aristotelis libros Posteriores Analyticos comentarii (1582)
  • De doctrinae ordine apologia (1584)
  • De rebus naturalibus libri XXX (1590).
  • In libros Aristotelis Physicorum commentarii (1601)
  • In tres libros Aristotelis De anima commentarii (1605)



  1. ^ Marie-Nicolas Bouillet, Alexis Chassang (ed.): Dictionnaire universel d'histoire et de géographie, 26th edition, Paris: Hachette, 1878, page 2029, sub-article "Zabarella, Jacques" inside "Zabarella, Franç." (in French) online (PDF or TIFF plugin required)
  2. ^ Bookseller description (in Italian)
  3. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

External links

Texts of Zabarella


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