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Hanna Gentili

PhD Student

Research Interests: History of Early Modern Philosophy | Jewish Thought | History of Translation
Theory of Reception | Comparative Literature | Interreligious and Renaissance Studies.


The Reception of Aristotle in the Work of Yohanan Alemanno (c. 1435 - c. 1504)

My research focuses on Yoḥanan Alemanno’s reception of the Aristotelian tradition and its legacy in the early modern Italian cultural context (XV-XVI century). On the basis of Alemanno’s works, the project aspires to contribute to the emerging debate on the relationship between philosophy, religion and identity in XV century Jewish thought. Philosopher and unorthodox student of Judah Messer Leon (c.1420/25-c.1498), Alemanno worked as a private teacher for the most illustrious Jewish and Christian circles, being particularly active in Florence. The focal point of my research consists in the thorough examination of Alemanno’s unpublished autograph notebooks preserved in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Ms. Reggio 23). My research focuses a) on the systematic analysis of Alemanno’s philosophical and rhetorical sources; b) on his pedagogical views and c) on his political thought. The examination of these profoundly related aspects offers unique insights into the personal interests, the particular setting and the broader impact of Yoḥanan Alemanno’s work in the context of early modern thought.The project is relevant to the fields of intellectual history, history of translation movements, philosophy of translation, theory of reception, comparative literature, interreligious and renaissance studies.

Supervisors: Guido Giglioni / Charles Burnett


Before studying at the Warburg Institute Hanna received an MA (summa cum laude) in Philosophy and Forms of Knowledge and a BA in Philosophy from the University of Pisa.


2017-2018   Yvonne Hackenbrock Student Support Fund

2016-2017   Saxl Fund Trustees Doctoral Bursary

2016            Training Grant, School of Advanced Study, University of London

2015-2016   Saxl Fund Trustees Doctoral Bursary


Papers given


-‘Kabbalah and/or Philosophy: Sources and Methodology in the Work of Yoḥanan Alemanno’, Kabbalah and Knowledge Transfer in the Early Modern World, Selma Stern Zentrum für Jüdische Studien and Freie Universität Berlin, July 9-10 2019.

-‘Reading Plato and Aristotle through Averroes. Yoḥanan Alemanno and the Hebrew Psychological Tradition’, Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Toronto, 19 March 2019.


- ‘The Reception of Aristotle in the Work of Yoḥanan Alemanno. Sources and Debates in Fifteenth-Century Italy’, Department of Jewish Studies, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 21 November 2018.

- ‘Sources, Method and Terminology of Yoḥanan Alemanno’s Discussion of Platonic and Aristotelian Notions’, Harmony and Contrast: Aristotelianism and Platonism in the Renaissance, UCL, London 29 June 2018.

- ‘Yoḥanan Alemanno and the Tibbonite Tradition: Sources and Terminology of the Discussion on the Immortality of the Soul’, Jewish Knowledge in Motion from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Era, Edelstein Center, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem 17 June 2018.

- ‘Imitation, Truth and Immortality in Fifteenth-Century Italy: The Case of Yoḥanan Alemanno’, Department of Philosophy, Bar-Ilan University, 1 May 2018.

- ‘Combining Aristotle and Biblical Exegesis. Philosophical Translations in the Work of Judah Messer Leon’, Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans 23 March 2018.


- ‘The Reception of Aristotle in the Work of Yoḥanan Alemanno’, Department of Jewish Studies, Bar-Ilan University 25 December 2017. 

- ‘Discussing Literary Imagery: Pedagogical Implications of the Debate on Style in Fifteenth-century Italy’, 17th World Congress of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem 9 August 2017.

- ‘Platonism and Religious Debates in Early Modern Italy. A Comparison between Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) and Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola (1469-1533) on the Nature of Love and Prophecy’, 15th Annual International Society for Neoplatonic Studies Conference, Olomouc 14 June 2017.

- ‘The Notion of Infinity in Marsilio Ficino’s Praise of Language’, Renaissance Society of America, Chicago 31 March 2017.

- ‘Yoḥanan Alemanno’s Pedagogy and the Cultural Context of Fifteenth-century Italy’, Warburg Institute Director’s Seminar, Warburg Institute, London 15 March 2017.

- ‘Understanding Rhetoric in its Cultural and (Inter)disciplinary Framework. Case Studies from the Early Modern Period.’, SAS PhD Interdisciplinary Seminar, London 2 March 2017.


- ‘Painting, Poetry and Philosophy: The Potential of Allegory in Giordano Bruno's Visual Memory’, EMPHASIS (Early Modern Philosophy and the Scientific Imagination), Department of English and Humanities, Birkbeck, London 3 December 2016.

- ‘The Impact of Rhetorical Strategies on the Notion of Cultural Identity in Late Fifteenth-Century Florence’, Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Bruges 18 August 2016.

 - ‘Music, Words and the Ascending Soul of the Philosopher: Possible Influences from Jewish Mysticism on Marsilio Ficino’s Theory of Sound and Spiritus’, The Musical Humanism of the Renaissance and its Legacy, Warwick’s Palazzo Pesaro Papafava, Venice 3 June 2016. 

Forthcoming publications:

- (Under review) ‘The Virtues of the Pagans between Prophecy and Rhetoric in the Work of Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola’, in International Archives of the History of Ideas(Dordrecht: Springer, 2020).

Forthcoming article:

- ‘Sources, Method and Terminology of Yoḥanan Alemanno’s Discussion of Platonic and Aristotelian Notions’, in Harmony and Contrast: Aristotelianism and Platonism in the Renaissance (Oxford University Press, Proceedings of the British Academy, 2020). 

Other Projects

Crisis, Rescue and Renewal

- ‘Promoting and Preserving the Humanities during WWII. The Impact of the Warburg Institute Cultural Programme in Britain’, The Warburg Institute, London 20 March 2017.

- ‘Crisis, Rescue and Renewal. The Warburg Institute and the Role of Academic Refugees during the Second World War’, The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, London 14 February 2017.

Fellowships and Awards

2017-2018 Annual Visiting Research Fellowship, Hebrew University of Jerusalem