Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Omnia in Omnibus

  • Guy ClaessensEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_411-1


Omnia in omnibus (“everything in everything” or “all in all”) is a Neoplatonic principle used to indicate that all things are in all things, but in each thing according to its proper nature. Renaissance philosophers invoke the principle to express the idea that everything – be it an intelligible Form, a sensible object, or an ontological level of reality – represents the totality of things in its own proper way. In Antiquity, the principle was anticipated by Anaxagoras and Plotinus, before being fully developed and canonized in the writings of Porphyry (Sent. 10) and Proclus (El. Theol. prop. 103). Via Proclus, it found its way to the works of pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, although, here as elsewhere, the theological meaning of 1 Corinthians 15:28 (ut Deus sit omnia in omnibus) should be taken into account as well. In the fifteenth century, Nicolaus Cusanus adopts the principle in his doctrine of quodlibet in quolibet, which states that each thing is a contraction of the entire universe. The notion occupies a central place in Marsilio Ficino’s commentary on the Timaeus, where it is applied to the multilayered existence of the four elements. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola restates the principle in his Conclusiones secundum Proclum and gives it a key role in his biblical hermeneutics. Finally, Giordano Bruno integrates the various meanings of omnia in omnibus into a comprehensive view of the cosmos as simultaneously one and many.

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Primary Literature (Editiones Principes)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Philosophy (HIW)KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna Laura Puliafito
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität BaselBaselSwitzerland