Nature is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere  

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"The famous dictum "Deus est sphaera intelligibilis cuius centrum ubique circumferentia nusquam" which probably goes back to Alain de Lille, seems to have been the intermediary as well as the most important formulation of all these concepts. The successors of Alain were indeed illustrious: The successors of Alain were indeed illustrious : Bonaventura, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart and Seuse, Cusanus, Marsilio Ficino; and finally Rabelais and Pascal." --Symbolism of the Sphere (1977) by Otto Brendel

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Nature is an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere is a dictum generally associated with Blaise Pascal. The dictum is featured in his Pensées:

[l'univers :] c'est une sphère infinie dont le centre est partout, la circonférence nulle part.[1]

The first written occurrence of the dictum is in 12th century book Liber XXIV philosophorum by the so-called Hermes Trismegistus.


Liber XXIV philosophorum

The Latin phrase "Deus est sphaera infinita, cuius centrum est ubique, circumferentia nusquam" (God is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere) is first attested in Liber XXIV philosophorum, "a Latin booklet by an anonymous author, which consists of 24 commented definitions of what God is. It has been ascribed to the fourth-century grammarian and philosopher Marius Victorinus, but the earliest extant manuscript dates back to the beginning of the thirteenth century."[2]


During the Late Middle Ages, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401 – 1464) in his De Docta Ignorantia asked whether there was any reason to assert that the Sun (or any other point) was the center of the universe. In parallel to a mystical definition of God, Cusa wrote that "Thus the fabric of the world (machina mundi) will quasi have its center everywhere and circumference nowhere." In Latin this reads "Unde erit machina mundi quasi habens ubique centrum et nullibi circumferentiam, quoniam circumferentia et centrum deus est, qui est ubique et nullibi."

Giordanu Bruno

Cusa's concept became basic for Giordano Bruno, for whom the innumerable worlds are all divine.

See also

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