Traditional natural philosophy with its bookish methods and basic indebtedness to Aristotle harbored innovations of many different kinds in the late Renaissance. I compare the modes of innovation and of adherence to tradition in the Universae naturae theatrum (1596) of Jean Bodin, who worked outside the university although his work was cited by German professors, and in the university teaching of Jean-Cecile Frey (active in Paris 1618–31). I argue that authorial self-presentation and ideas about the proper relation of philosophy and religion played crucial roles in making innovations palatable or not in different university contexts.

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