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Byzantine Perspectives on Neoplatonism

Chair: Sergei Mariev (s.mariev@lmu.de)

One of the differences between the intellectual history of the Latin West and that of the Byzantine East stems from the fact that the Byzantine intellectual elite not only had direct access to the Neoplatonic sources in the original language but also, at times, showed a particular interest in them.

The present panel welcomes contributions that focus on the "Byzantine side" of the reception process of Neoplatonic authors from Late Antiquity (= Early Byzantine Period) through to the Late Byzantine Period (15th century and beyond). In particular, contributions should aim to identify some specific questions and concerns that drew the interest of Byzantine scholars from different periods towards Neoplatonic sources.

Which aspects of the Neoplatonic doctrine provoked responses from Christian scholars during the Early Byzantine Period? Which questions attracted the attention of a Byzantine polymath such as Michael Psellos and his student John Italos in the 11th C..? What role did Neoplatonic Philosophy play in the context of "Byzantine Humanism" in the 14th C. (Nikephoros Gregoras and his circle)? Why would Georgios Gemistos (alias Pletho) want to turn to Neoplatonic doctrines in the 15th C.?