Nicholas of Cusa-A Companion to His Life and His Times
Bellitto, Christopher M., The Catholic Historical Review
Nicholas of Cusa- A Companion to His Life and His Times. By Morimichi Watanabe. Edited by Gerald Christiansen and Thomas M. Izbicki. (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing. 2011. Pp. xliv, 381. $134.95. ISBN 9781-4094-2039-2.)
This volume is a fitting legacy of the career of Morimichi Watanabe, who served for many years as the president of the American Cusanus Society; editor of its newsletter; and unofficial ambassador of Cusan studies in the United States, Europe, and Japan.The volume, which appeared shortly before his death in April 201 2, is a collection of sixty-nine short essays, including those by Watanabe and six other authors- Thomas M. Izbicki, Gerald Christianson, Jesse D. Mann, Il Kim, Donald D. Sullivan, and John P. Kraljic. About half began as contributions to the American Cusanus Society Newsletter between 1984 and 2007, although they have been revised since then.1 The volume also contains seven black-and-white figures and three maps, the most helpful illustrating the itinerary of Cardinal Nicolaus Cusanus (1401-64) on his papal legation of 1450-52. In addition, there is a grid timeline keyed to Cusanus 's works and a chronological, annotated listing of his writings and their availability in various editions.
Watanabe 's own interests were the political and biographical aspects of Cusanus; his humble guidance and enthusiasm led others to pursue many other angles of Cusan studies, although they are largely not represented here. The volume, indeed, is not intended as a guide to the breadth of a fifteenth-century man's thought. Divided into three parts, the essays taken together instead represent the biographical, narrative, geographic, and intellectual topography that affected Cusanus and that he, in turn, influenced. Part I, "Ideas and Events," considers canon law, the Great Western Schism, conciliarism, philosophy and theology, spirituality, the fall of Constantinople, and the Congress of Mantua. …