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


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.”

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


Primary Sources

  1. Fyrigos A (1998) Barlaam Calabro. Opere contro i Latini. Introduzione, storia dei testi, edizione critica, traduzione e indici, vols I–II. Studi e Testi, 347 and 348. Città del VaticanoGoogle Scholar
  2. Fyrigos A (2005) Dalla controversia palamitica alla polemica esicastica. Con un’edizione critica delle epistole greche di Barlaam. Medioevo, 11. Pontificia Università Antoniana, Rome, pp 169–191 (full list of primary and secondary sources)Google Scholar
  3. Hogg ChR (1997) Barlaam of Calabria. Ethica secundum Stoicos. An edition, translation, and critical essay. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Indiana UniversityGoogle Scholar
  4. Migne Jacques-Paul (1865) Patrologia Graeca. Paris, 151:1341–1364Google Scholar
  5. Sinkewicz RE (1981) The Solutions addressed to George Lapithes by Barlaam the Calabrian and their philosophical context. Mediaev Stud 43:151–217Google Scholar

Secondary Sources

  1. Demetracopoulos JA (2003) Further evidence on the ancient, Patristic, and Byzantine sources of Barlaam the Calabrian’s Contra Latinos. Byzantinische Zeitschrift 96(2):83–122Google Scholar
  2. Demetracopoulos JA (2010) The Christian Platonism of Barlaam the Calabrian. A research into the philosophical and theological sources of his Greek Epistles. Parousia, AthensGoogle Scholar
  3. Ierodiakonou K (2002) The anti-logical movement in the fourteenth century. In: Ierodiakonou K (ed) Byzantine philosophy and its ancient sources. Oxford University Press, pp 219–236Google Scholar
  4. Sinkewicz RE (1982) The doctrine of the knowledge of God in the early writings of Barlaam the Calabrian. Mediaev Stud 44:181–242Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

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