Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

2011 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Barlaam of Calabria

  • John A. Demetracopoulos
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_75

Abstract

Barlaam of Calabria (c. 1290?–1348) was a theologian, philosopher, and mathematician. Born Orthodox in Calabria (South Italy), he fled to Byzantium to join Greek monasticism. Commanding both Greek and Latin and well versed in ancient Greek, Patristic, and Byzantine literature, he was recognized by most Greeks as a sage both in profane and religious matters. His attack, however, on Gregory Palamas, a leading spiritual authority at the Mount Athos, and on his peculiar trend of “hesychasm,” led to a condemnation of Barlaam by the Byzantine Church. Turning back to the West, he converted to Catholicism and became a bishop. Clashing with a strong Byzantine tradition, he highly evaluated philosophy, regarding Platonism as compatible with Christianity and Aristotle as compatible with Platonism. Though fond of Neoplatonic literature, he had no taste for its mystical aspect; instead, he regarded moral purification and acquisition of scientific knowledge as means of one’s “assimilation to God.”

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Bibliography

Primary Sources

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. Demetracopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EducationUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece