Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Basilio Bessarione: Lo Spirito Greco E L'occidente

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Basilio Bessarione: Lo Spirito Greco E L'occidente

Article excerpt

Basilio Bessarione: Lo spirito greco e l'occidente. By Giuseppe L. Coluccia. [Accademia delleArti del Disegno, Monografie 15.] (Florence: Casa Editrice Leo S. Olschki. 2009. Pp. xxx, 444. euro50,00 paperback. ISBN 978-8-822-25925-7.)

Perhaps because of his eccentricity, the Hellenizing, likely pagan Platonist Gemistus Pletho (c. 1355-1452) has received plenty of attention from scholars, including works by François Masai, Christopher Montague Woodhouse, and Brigitte Tambrun-Krasker. But it is a different situation for Gemistus's most celebrated and influential disciple: Cardinal Basilio Bessarion (c. 140272), who, although a strong defender of the Greek tradition and Platonic philosophy, maintained his loyalty to the Catholic Church. For many years, the only real monograph about Bessarion was the classic study Kardinal Bessarion als Theologe, Humanist und Staatsmann by Ludwig Mohler (Paderborn, 1927); Mohler also issued an edition of the cardinal's masterpiece, In calumniatorem Piatonis, and a volume of other texts by Bessarion and his familiares. Lotte Labowski, Concetta Bianca, James Hankins, John Monfasani, and Brunello Lotti later wrote other important articles, followed by recent monographs by Marian Cizewski and Héctor Delbosco.

Giuseppe L. Coluccia's book is not only the first Italian monograph devoted to a key protagonist in Renaissance cultural history but also offers a remarkably complete and updated bibliography (pp. 375-424) on the life, works, and intellectual circle of the cardinal- an important instrument for future work. Coluccia- who has written a biography of Nicholas V- is not involved in the academic milieu, so his monograph is aimed at introducing Bessarion to a wider public. …

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