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"Byzantine Philosophy" - new article by Katerina Ierodiakonou

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  • Curt Steinmetz
    Katerina Ierodiakonou has a new online article on Byzantine Philosophy at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 16, 2008
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      Katerina Ierodiakonou has a new online article on "Byzantine Philosophy"
      at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/byzantine-philosophy/

      The article is broken into two main parts - an historical survey that I
      am still working my way through, and a section on "Topics" that focuses
      on (1) The Immortality of the Soul and (2) Metaphysics: Universals. This
      is followed by a fairly massive bibliography of primary and secondary
      sources.

      Here is a short excerpt from the subsection of the Historical Survey on
      "People, Works, Currents":

      --------------------------------------------
      The historian George Pachymeres (1242–c. 1310), who also taught at the
      Patriarchal School, wrote a voluminous Aristotelian
      paraphrase-compendium covering not only logic and natural philosophy but
      also metaphysics and ethics, the Philosophia. In addition, he wrote a
      textbook on the four mathe°©matical disciplines (the Quadrivium) and,
      more importantly, the only Late Byzantine commentary on Plato, a
      continuation of Proclus’ incompletely transmitted commentary on the
      Parmenides, which contrasts starkly with its ancient predecessor by
      applying a “logical” (i.e., non-metaphysical) method of interpretation
      and a paraphrastic mode of exposition. A growing body of evidence shows
      that Pachymeres was deeply engaged in collecting, transcribing, and
      editing manuscripts of philosophical authors.

      Pachymeres’ concern with Plato was not coincidental. If the boom in
      Aristotelian studies in this period was partly a response to the
      challenge of Western philosophy and theology, it seems reasonable to
      think that a similar cause may be found for the rising popularity of
      Plato, who was much less known than Aristotle in the West. Ever since
      Late Antiquity Aristotelian logic and natural philosophy had been
      commonly regarded as propaedeutic to Platonic metaphysics, and the
      hierarchical relation between the two philosophers was now increasingly
      stressed, sometimes (as in Nikephoros Gregoras’ Phlorentius) in the
      context of open criticism of the Aristotelian inclinations of Latin
      philosophy. Platonic metaphysics was, however, a theologically
      precarious field, and it is hardly surprising if those who plowed it
      were not at all times equally outspoken about the fruits of their labor.
      Still, in the 1260s, George Akropolites willingly admitted that his
      interpretations of Church Fathers were informed by the divinely inspired
      Plato, Proclus, Iamblichus and Plotinus; and towards the end of our
      period George Gemistos Plethon went so far as completely to discard
      Christianity in favor of Neoplatonic polytheism.
      --------------------------------------------

      Curt Steinmetz
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