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The project explores the influence of Thomas Aquinas’ (1225-74) writings on Byzantine intellectuals. It produces critical editions of Greek translations of, and commentaries on, Thomistic works by Byzantine scholars and theologians between the late 13th and 15th centuries. The editions shed light on the reception of Aquinas’ works in late Byzantium, beyond traditional polemics and prejudice, thus contributing to a better understanding of the dialogue between the Greek East and the Latin West in this period.

“Tasting the Lotus”: 1 Reception of and Reaction to the Transmission of Latin Works in Byzantium

Philosophy and Theology in Byzantium

[1] Λωτοῦ δὴ γευσάμενος οὐχ οἷός τ᾽ἦν λοιπὸν κρατεῖν ἐμαυτοῦ, ἀλλ᾽ἀφειδῶς τῆς Ἰταλῆς γλώσσης ἐνεπιμπλάμην […]” See Demetrius Cydones, Apologia, 363.

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The Speakers

KEY SPEAKERS & TALKS

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Rev. Dr. Christiaan Kappes (SS. Cyril &Methodius)

The Reception of the Notion Subsistent Relations as Persons in Late Byzantium

The notion of the persons of God, Father, Son, and Spirit as subsistent relations was a passing topic of interest at the Council of Florence. It remains an object of criticism in some environs of modern discussion. This paper plans to discuss the rendering into Greek of the explanation of such persons into the Augustinian and Thomistic texts from the 13th to the 15th centuries, culminating in the Greek version of the Hervaeus Natalis’s commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sententiae (Vat. gr. 609 &1102).

Dr. John Demetracopulos (University of Patras)

Resilience - Deformation - Refraction: Aquinas in Byzantium, Then and Today

Thomas Aquinas’ thought was multifarious in influence upon taking into account its Greek form in the 14h-15th via Demetrios Kydones, Atoumes, Prochoros Kydones, and George Scholarios. Aquinas’ thought was absorbed though the Byzantine body (as a Newtonian metaphor) proved resilient to it. Elements of it were received or assimilated, without causing any permanent change to the body it struck. Thanks to Demetrios Kydones’ translation of the Summa contra Gentiles (1354), certain Byzantines renewed and enriched their anti-Muslim arguments. The pro-Aristotelian Scholarios exploited Aquinas’ (as well as Albert the Great’s) interpretation of Aristotle’s philosophy and writings on the purpose to refute George Pachymeres’ and Plethon’s anti-Aristotelianism. Bessarion exploited both Thomas Graecus and Thomas Latinus for a number of cases, including his defense of Plato and proper account of Aristotle’s thought against George of Trebizond. In other cases, Aquinas’ thought in late Byzantium became partly deformed. For instance, by using Aquinas’ theory of the divine names and simplicity vs. multiplicity in the Deus unus, most of the pro-Palamite theologians from John VI Kantakuzenos through Scholarios re-elaborated Gregory Palamas’ theory of the divine in a way that changed its very core. Aquinas’ thought was sometimes simply reflected. In certain cases, the above three categories partly cross, depending on the circumstances. Grosso modo this categorization applies to how modern scholars approach the historical fact of the reception of Aquinas in Byzantium. 

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Dr. Charalambos Dendrinos (Royal Holloway, University of London)      

Conclusions

Dr. Dendrinos will provide his summation of the insights and themes addressed in the conference.

Angelos Zaloumis (University of Patras / EPHE, Paris)

Thomas Aquinas’ Summa contra Gentiles as the Source of the Moral Intellectualism in John VI Cantacuzenus’ Contra Mahometem Disputatio ΙΙ

Thomas Aquinas’ Summa contra Gentiles as the Source of the Moral Intellectualism in John VI Cantacuzenus’ Contra Mahometem Disputatio ΙΙ (Κατὰ τοῡ Μωάμεθ λόγος δεύτερος) John VI Cantacuzenus (1292 - 1383), in his polemical writings against Islam, discusses beatitudo (happiness) as the ultimate end of human life, which consists in the contemplatio Dei, in order to show (like many of his predecessors) the flagrant superiority of Christianity to Islam, presenting the latter as propounding a base, hedonist view of the afterlife happiness. Unlike what has so far been stated, i.e. that the source of this argument in Cantacuzenus’ Contra Mahometem Disputatio ΙΙ is Demetrios Cydones’ translation of Ricoldus de Monte Crucis’ (c. 1242/3 - 1320) Contra legem Saracenorum (c. 1300), meticulous textual comparison shows that Cantacuzenus was relied on one of the major sources of Ricoldus’ writing, i.e. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa contra Gentiles, accessed by the ex-emperor via Demetrios Cydones’ translation of it (1354), which was sponsored by himself during his reign (1347 - 1354). 

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Dominic Cassella (SS. Cyril & Methodius)

Personhood from West to East: Persons as Subsistent Relations in the Church Fathers

The idea that persons—when spoken of in reference to “what is three in the Trinity?”—are subsistent relations is normally held to be a Western development exemplified by Thomas Aquinas. However, in this article, I explore the roots of this concept as something shared by both the Eastern and Western theological traditions. By examining the Cappadocians and their interpreter, John Damascene, in contrast with Augustine and his first major interpreter, Boethius, we find that there is complete agreement concerning the terms “Father,” “Son,” and “Spirit” and “Unbegotten,” “Begotten,” and “Processor" as relational terms. Afterward, I explore the question of whether these relational terms denote a subsisting thing or merely a character or mode of being.

Dr. Dmitri Makarov(The Urals State Conservatory, Dept. of General Humanities)

Parallels and Contrasts between Theodore Metochites and Albert the Great

This paper confronts similarities between Metochites’ thought and some Scholastic parallels, as in Albert the Great. Musing about Palamism and its modern interpreters (e.g., like Badiou), some observations are in order concerning these authors’ discrepancies and points of contact. A comparison of texts provides some valuable points of consideration for compare and contrast.

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Dr. Jared Goff (SS. Cyril & Methodius)

Bonaventure Graecus: Metaphysical Parallels between the Doctor Seraphicus and Late Byzantine discussions of the Filioque

The notions of archê and monarchism of the Father in the texts of Augustine, Gregory Palamas, and Bonaventure. The technical issues in Latin Filioquism and its influence on Palamas are not central but important considerations given the possible parallels between Palamas and Augustine in some of his works. More importantly are the theological or impressionistic parallels between the thought of Bonaventure of Bagnoregio and Gregory Palamas whose metaphysics on the production of the Spirit are in many ways surprisingly compatible.

Dr. Konstantinos Palaiologos
(Researcher,
University of Patras)

Augustinus Graecus: The Unedited late Byzantine Translation of Ps.-Augustine's On the Purgatorial Fire.

The paper presents the hitherto unpublished Greek translation of the short treatise "On the Purgatorial Fire" by Saint Caesarius of Arles, attributed to Saint Augustine of Hippo in the three Greek extant codices, which are datable to the fifteenth and sixteenth century. The Greek text, by a so far unidentified translator, closely follows the original Latin text. Consisting of nine sections, the author defends the doctrine of Purgatory in accordance with the Latin theological views. This translation in the form of a Sermon, appears to be addressed to a Greek-speaking audience of laymen and/or clergymen converted to Roman Catholicism, touching upon major points in defence of the Latin doctrine, including scriptural evidence. The question over the Purgatory, which originated in the writings of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, became an integral part of the theological dialogue between East and West in Late Byzantium and beyond.

 

Dr. Marco Fanelli(University of Paris-Sorbonne)

Prolegomena on the necessity of a new edition of the translation of Demetrius Cydones Contra legem Sarracenorum of Riccold da Monte di Croce (Prolegomena sulla necessità di una nuova edizione della traduzione di Demetrio Cidone del CONTRA LEGEM SARRACENORUM di Riccoldo da Monte di Croce)

Demetrios Kydones was the most important and influencing translator of Latin texts into Greek in the Byzantine 14th Century. His translations of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa contra Gentiles and Summa Theologiae animated the religious debate in the second half of the century, marking a turning point in the Byzantine intellectual framework.
Moreover, Kydones worked on Latin anti-Islamic texts as Riccoldo da Monte di Croce’s Contra Legem Sarracenorum and Thomas Aquinas’s De rationibus fidei. Especially the circulation of the translation of the first one produced a drastic swing in the traditional literature concerning Islamic matters. It is testified by John VI Cantacuzenus who composed four Apologiae defending the Christian faith and as much Orationes against Muhammad and the Qur’an. In particular in the Orationes he quoted more or less literally a lot of passages from Kydones’s translation, always omitting the name of his source.
Until now scholars restricted themselves to notice self-evident reliance of Cantacuzenus, without taking into consideration the reliability of Kydones’s text, even today available in Migne’s edition only. It reproduces even Bibliander’s text, published in the 16th Century. During my study on Cantacuzenus’s anti-Islamic corpus I have noticed some suspicious lectiones, contrasting with the edited text of Kydones. 
Starting from the history of Bibliander’s edition and the collation between that edition and the two oldest manuscripts, both of them contemporary of Kydones (Vat gr. 719) and partially autograph (Vat. gr. 706), my communication concerns the need of preparing a new critical edition of Kydones’s text, helpful to shed light on the timing of Kydones’s work on Riccoldo, on the technique of translation, in order to reconsider the relationship between Kydones’s text and the authors who used his translation.   

Olha Uhryn(University of Vienna)

“Treatise “De Graecis errantibus” (1437) and views of Andreas de Escobar (ca. 1348-1448) on Unity of Churches”

The focus of this paper will be placed on the polemical treatise of the Portuguese bishop Andreas de Escobar. He left his homeland for studying in Vienna; entered three religious orders; pledged obedience to popes from Rome, Pisa and Avignon and showed flexibility if it was needed in order to obtain a new diocese or benefice. He worked at the different papal curias and was very well acquainted with the habits of the churchmen. Andreas de Escobar took part in the Councils of Constance and Ferrara-Florence. In his last work De Graecis errantibus he analyzed main dogmatical differences between Churches in Rom and in Constantinople in 50 questions leaning on various texts by Thomas Aquinas and Church Fathers: John Chrysostom, Maximus the Confessor, Cyril of Jerusalem u.a.

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Dr. Panagiotis Athanasopoulos
( University of Ioannina)

Cicero Graecus in Demetrios Kydones’s Translation of the Summa Theologiae

A mediated case of Cicero Graecus: Passages from Cicero’s writings in Demetrios Kydones' Greek Translation of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae, Ia IIae and IIa IIae. The Byzantine intellectuals had very limited knowledge of Cicero’s writings. Demetrios Kydones’ translation of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae, Ia IIae and IIa IIae stands as such an indirect route, because the Summa includes numerous citations from various Ciceronian works. In this paper, I focus on these passages in order to evaluate Kydones' modus interpretandi and briefly explore the added value of them for the Byzantines’ knowledge of the ancient philosophical thought.

Dr. Patrícia Calvário(Institute of Philosophy, University of Porto)

The Anti-Byzantine Controversy on Beatific Vision in Second Scholasticism (16th-17th C.): An Overview.

Metaphysical debates in Early Modern Age have often dwelt on how God can be known (beatific vision). The opposition between the Latin and Byzantine views on this topic remained unrecognized. From Aquinas, the Council of Florence (1439) in its final decree stated that the blessed “clearly behold the triune God as he is”. The two sides of Christianity had two perspectives on the beatific vision. In the East, the absolute incomprehensibility of God’s essence was reinforced by the influence of Gregory Palamas and his distinction between energy and essence. My aim is to make an overview of the problem of the (un)knowability of the essence of God, taking into account the confrontation with byzantine tradition during the 16th and 17th century. I can point out those of the Jesuits Francisco Suárez (1548‐1617), doctor eximius, the master of the masters of Descartes, and the ontologist Gabriel Vásquez (1549‐1604), Suárez’s rival, who also influenced modern thinkers; Dénis Pétau (1583-1652), one of the few at the epoch well versed in Greek, who made a detailed criticism to Palamas. The essence-energy distinction and the impossibility of contemplating the divine essence are discussed and vehemently rejected by Pétau; Diego Ruíz de Montoya (1562-1632); and Nicolas Ysamberti (ca.1565-1642).

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Dr. Reginald Lynch OP(Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception)

Thomas Aquinas and Nicholas Cabasilas: grace, character, and sacramental sealing

This paper compares the concept of sacramental sealing in Nicholas Cabasilas and Thomas Aquinas.  While Cabasilas’ sacramental doctrine is clearly influenced by Aquinas, each of these authors also approaches the questions of sacramental sealing and sanctification in ways that reflect the broader influence of the Eastern and Western traditions on these subjects.  While Cabasilas draws on an Alexandrian tradition that sees scriptural references to the seal of the Spirit as references to divination as a whole, Aquinas will deploy these same scriptural sources to refer to the doctrine of sacramental character specifically, following the Augustinian tradition.  However, Aquinas’ broader definition of sacramental effect (which includes both grace and sacramental character) remains compatible with Cabasilas’ description of sealing as deification, implying an intrinsic sanctification of the sacramental recipient that forms the beginning of a participation in divine life.

Thanos Kerefides(University of Patras)

Scholarios on 'Raptus' and his Thomistic Sources

My paper discusses how certain quæstiones from ST Ia Pars and IIa IIae, which Scholarios had read in Demetrios Kydones’ translation, served as sources in his reply to a question on the third heaven by the Serbian ruler George Branković. Scholarios’ reply dates to his first patriarchate, i.e. 1454-1456. Despite not naming any sources, he doesn't differ in this from the other Byzantine authors, who very seldom  ̶  and for some special reason  ̶  named their sources. Reusing silently various sources was already a common –in fact, mandatory– practice as early as the era of Atticism.

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Dr. Tikhon Pino(Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Pappas Patristic Institute)

East-West “Relations”: The Persons of the Trinity in Palamite and Late Byzantine Theology

In the one hundred and thirty-fourth of his Chapters, St. Gregory Palamas lists among those things that belong to the category of the relative, or relation (τὸ πρός τι), not only the fact that God is Father to a Son (and Son to a Father), but that the Spirit is the procession (πρόβλημα) of the Father. This somewhat unique classification of the Spirit, qua procession, as a ‘relation’ can also be found in other Palamite authors and is bound up especially with late Byzantine debates over the Filioque. This paper explores the concept of ‘relation’ more broadly in Palamas, looking especially at his use of St. Augustine on this topic, and examines parallels in the anti-Latin polemic of Neilos Kavasilas and Joseph Bryennios.

Schedule

31st July - 1st August

Day 1 -

July 31st

Session A

Start: 9:00 a.m. EST (Pittsburgh)
Christiaan Kappes


Opening Welcome – Speech – information 
End: 9:15 a.m EST

Day 1 - Session B

Start: 9:20 a.m. EST/16.20 EEST (Athens)
Chair: Kappes 


Key Note: Demetracopoulos - Resilience - Deformation - Refraction: Aquinas in Byzantium, Then and Today

9:25 a.m. EST/16.25 EEST (Athens)
End: 10:05 a.m. EST/17:05 EEST
Chair: Kappes


Makarov - Parallels and Contrasts between Theodore Metochites and Albert the Great

10:10 a.m. EST/19.10 YEKT (= Moscow +2)
End: 10:50 a.m. EST/19.50 YEKT (= Moscow +2)

Day 1 -

Session C

Start: 11:00 a.m. EST/18.00 EEST (Athens)
Chair: Demetracopoulos


Zaloumis - Thomas Aquinas’ Summa contra Gentiles as the Source of the Moral Intellectualism in John VI Cantacuzenus’ Contra Mahometem Disputatio ΙΙ

11:05 a.m. EST-11:45 p.m/18.05-18.45 EEST
Chair: Demetracopoulos


Athanasopoulos - Cicero Graecus in Demetrios Kydones’s Translation of the Summa Theologiae

11:50 a.m. EST /18.50 EEST
End: 12:30 p.m. EST/19.30 EEST

Uhryn -Treatise “De Graecis errantibus” (1437) and views of Andreas de Escobar (ca. 1348-1448) on Unity of Churches

12:45 p.m. EST/ 18.45 CET

End: 1:30 p.m./ 19.30 CET

Kappes: Dismissal - Information/Question before Lunch - End of day 1

Day 2 -

August 1st

Session A

Start: 9:00 a.m. EST (Pittsburgh)/16.00 EEST (Athens)
Chair: Athanasopoulos


Palaiologos - Augustine Graecus, Bishop of Hippo, On the Purgatorial Fire

9:05 a.m. EST-9:45 a.m. EST/16.05 EEST-16.50 EEST
Chair: Athanasopoulos


Dominic Cassella - Personhood from West to East:

Persons as Subsistent Relations in the Church Fathers

9:50 a.m. EST
End: 10:30 a.m. EST

Day 2 -

Session B

Start: 10:45 a.m. EST (Pittsburgh)
Chair:
Demetracopulos


Kerefidis - Scholarios on 'Raptus' and his Thomistic Sources

10:50 a.m. EST-11:30 a.m. EST/17.50 EEST-18.30 EEST (Athens)
Chair: Demetracopulos


Calvário - The Anti-Byzantine Controversy on Beatific Vision in Second Scholasticism (16th-17th C.): An Overview.

11:35 a.m. EST /16.35 (Porto)
End: 12:15 p.m. EST/17.15 (Porto)

Break - BCS 12:15-1:25 p.m.

 

Day 2 -

Session C

Start: 1:25 pm EST
Chair: Christiaan Kappes


Lynch - Thomas Aquinas and Nicholas Cabasilas: grace, character, and sacramental sealing

1:30 pm EST-2:10 p.m. EST
Chair: Christiaan Kappes


Fanelli - Prolegomena on the necessity of a new edition of the translation of Demetrius Cydones Contra legem Sarracenorum of Riccold da Monte di Croce (Prolegomena sulla necessità di una nuova edizione della traduzione di Demetrio Cidone del CONTRA LEGEM SARRACENORUM di Riccoldo da Monte di Croce)

2:15 EST/8.20 CEST (Paris)
End: 3:00 EST/8.55 CEST (Paris)

Day 2 -

Session D

Start: 3:15 p.m. EST
Chair: Goff

 

Pino - East-West “Relations”: The Persons of the Trinity in Palamite and Late Byzantine Theology

3:20 p.m.-4:00 p.m. EST
End: 
Chair: Goff


Christiaan Kappes - The Reception of the Notion Subsistent Relations as Persons in Late Byzantium

4:05 p.m. EST
End: 4:45 p.m. EST.

Day 2 -

Session E

Closing Remarks

Dendrinos - Conclusions

5:00 p.m. EST/22:00 BST (London)

Round Table: 5:15/30 p.m/ EST-6:00 p.m. EST

BCS Faculty summarize their impressions: Dr. Jared Goff, Dr. Matthew Minerd, Rev. Dr. Joel Barstad, and Rev. Dr. Christiaan Kappes

Announcement of Publication

Thanks/Acknowledgements

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Byzantine Catholic Seminary is proud to host the Thomas de Aquino Byzantinus project:
The project explores the influence of Thomas Aquinas’ (1225-74) writings on Byzantine intellectuals. It produces critical editions of Greek translations of, and commentaries on, Thomistic works by Byzantine scholars and theologians between the late 13th and 15th centuries. The editions shed light on the reception of Aquinas’ works in late Byzantium, beyond traditional polemics and prejudice, thus contributing to a better understanding of the dialogue between the Greek East and the Latin West in this period.

 
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COSPONSORS

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