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Byzantinisches Archiv – Series Philosophica is dedicated to the new and rapidly growing field of research into Byzantine philosophical texts. It considers itself a forum for cutting-edge research on Byzantine philosophy based on solid philological and historical foundations. Its aim is to publish conference volumes, monographs and critical editions. Each volume is written and edited by leading scholars in the field. High quality standards are ensured through anonymous reviewing.
Editor in Chief: Sergei Mariev (Munich). Editorial Board: John Demetracopoulos (Patras), Jozef Matula (Olomouc), John Monfasani (Albany), Inmaculada Pérez Martín (Madrid), Brigitte Tambrun-Krasker (Paris)
The importance of Bessarion's contribution to the history of Byzantine and Renaissance philosophy and culture during the 15th century is beyond dispute. However, an adequate appreciation of his contribution still remains a desideratum of scholarly research. One serious impediment to scholarly progress is the fact that the critical edition of his main philosophical work "In Calumniatorem Platonis" is incomplete and that this work has not been translated in its entirety into any modern language yet. Same can be stated about several minor but equally important treatises on literary, theological and philosophical subjects. This makes editing, translating and interpreting his literary, religious and philosophical works a scholarly priority. Papers assembled in this volume highlight a number of philological, philosophical and historical aspects that are crucial to our understanding of Bessarion's role in the history of European civilization and to setting the directions of future research in this field.
This volume explores the theme of Latin and Greek mutual learning, intellectual and cultural interchange in the final age of Byzantium (1261-1453), challenging received conceptions of East and West as clearly delineated ideological categories. The reception of Thomas Aquinas and Western scholasticism receives emphasis, but also other forms of philosophical and theological frames of reference that have had lasting repercussions.
Byzantine intellectuals not only had direct access to Neoplatonic sources in the original language but also, at times, showed a particular interest in them. During the Early Byzantine period Platonism significantly contributed to the development of Christian doctrines and, paradoxically, remained a rival world view that was perceived by many Christian thinkers as a serious threat to their own intellectual identity. This problematic relationship was to become even more complex during the following centuries. Byzantine authors made numerous attempts to harmonize Neoplatonic doctrines with Christianity as well as to criticize, refute and even condemn them. The papers assembled in this volume discuss a number of specific questions and concerns that drew the interest of Byzantine scholars in different periods towards Neoplatonic sources in an attempt to identify and explore the central issues in the reception of Neoplatonic texts during the Byzantine era. This is the first volume of the sub-series "Byzantinisches Archiv - Series Philosophica", which will be dedicated to the rapidly growing field of research in Byzantine philosophical texts.
In 1458 George of Trebizond transferred the Plato-Aristotle controversy from the Byzantine world to the Latin by publishing his Comparatio Philosophorum Platonis et Aristotelis et Praestantia Aristotelis, a full-scale attack on Plato and the Platonic tradition from antiquity to the present day, ending with a violent diatribe on the dangers posed by the influence of Cardinal Bessarion’s recently deceased teacher, George Gemistus Pletho. To respond, Bessarion knew that he would have to do so in Latin, but in actuality, he composed his response in Greek and then translated it into Latin. The result was the Liber Defensionum contra Obiectiones in Platonem, which was ready for publication by 1466. At that point, however, he withdrew it from publication in order to expand its content as well as to refine its Latinity. Bessarion’s response finally appeared in 1469 as the In Calumniatorem Platonis. But it was in the Liber Defensionum that Bessarion made his major decisions on what to include as well as what to exclude from his original Greek text and exactly how he would render the Greek into Latin. Thus, to understand the language and structure of the In Calumniatorem Platonis one must turn first to the Liber Defensionum.