Engraving of Zabarella, 1652

Giacomo (or Jacopo) Zabarella (5 September 1533 – 15 October 1589) was an Italian Aristotelian philosopher and logician.


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 in 1601 and the commentary on On the Soul (1605).[1]

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 was literate in Greek, and was therefore able to use the Greek texts of Aristotle. He devoted much effort to presenting what he considered to be the true meaning of Aristotle's texts.


  1. De natura logicae
  2. De quarta figura syllogismorum
  3. De methodis
  4. De conversione demonstrationi in definitionem
  5. De propositionibus necessariis
  6. De speciebus demonstrationis
  7. De regressus
  8. De tribus praecognitis
  9. De medio demonstrationis
  1. In II libros Posteriores analyticos commentarii (Venice, 1582)
  2. De doctrinae ordine apologia (Padua, 1585)
  3. Tabulae logicae (Venice, 1578)

Editions and translations

  1. De inventione aeterni motoris. De rebus naturalibus liber V, ed. J. M. García Valverde (Bruniana & Campanelliana, 2012).
  2. De sensu gente. De rebus naturalibus liber XXIV, ed. J. M. García Valverde (Rivista di Storia della Filosofia, 2012).
  3. De mente agente. De rebus naturalibus liber XXIX, ed. J. M. García Valverde, Fragmentos de Filosofía, 9 (2011).


  1. ^ Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Further reading

Texts of Zabarella