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“Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae Ia IIae translated by Demetrius Cydones and Bessarion’s incomplete Compendium of the translation – A Critical Editio Princeps”

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TASTGCEP (“Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae Ia IIae translated by Demetrius Cydones and Bessarion’s incomplete Compendium of the translation – A Critical Editio Princeps”)

Reporting period: 2016-10-03 to 2018-10-02

During the 14th century, the Catholic Church made its presence felt in the Byzantine ecclesiastical and religious fields with the Orders of Friars, especially Dominicans, whose purpose was the dissemination of Catholicism. This would be achieved mainly by disseminating the views of one of the most prominent Dominican thinkers, Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274). Thus, Scholasticism was introduced in Byzantium through the translation of at least 16 works of Thomas Aquinas and other Western theologians.
Nevertheless, there are vast unexplored fields in Byzantine Thomism, because of the lack of edited texts. This desideratum is addressed by the “Thomas de Aquino Byzantinus” project, held by the University of Patras and Royal Holloway of London, to which the TASTGCEP project is contributing by exploring how Thomas’ moral philosophy, as expounded in the Summa Theologiae Ia IIae, was introduced in Byzantium.
This text addresses several issues that the Byzantines were debating on in the 14th and 15th c. Thanks to Demetrios Cydones’ translation of the ST Ia IIae, the Byzantine intellectual world could read and employ Thomas’ ideas. To name just an example, Cardinal Bessarion conducted a Compendium, which contains a selection of passages from the first seven quaestiones of Cydones’ translation.
Through the implementation of the critical editions (editio princeps) of these two unedited texts, that are going to be made available to scholars, the TASTGCEP project had the general objective to contribute to the research on the relations between the Catholic and Orthodox theological and intellectual traditions, as well as the interactions between Latins and Greeks in the framework of a better understanding of European history.
Specifically, the critical edition of Cydones’ translation aims at helping scholars to identify undeclared Thomistic passages in the Byzantine writings of this era. Moreover, valuable conclusions have been drawn on Cydones’ modus interpretandi (e. g. ad litteram or ad sensum).
On the other hand, the critical edition of Bessarion's Compendium has addressed specific questions, such as the reasons why this text was produced but left uncomplete, its contents, its use and its position in the manuscript tradition of Cydones’ Translation of ST Ia IIae.
The research activity has been carried out through the study and analysis of five manuscripts of Cydones’ translation of the text, namely: Marc. Gr. 147, ff. 17r–491r (preserving the entire text) and Marc. Gr. 148, ff. 525r–532v (containing Bessarion’s Compendium) preserved in Venice; Par. Gr. 1274, ff. 1r–248v (Compendium by an unknown author) and Par. Gr. 1932, ff. 68r-69r (Scholarios’ Compendium minor) preserved in Paris; and Vat. Gr. 433, ff. 81r-179v (Scholarios’ Compendium) preserved in Rome. The manuscripts have been thoroughly studied in situ in Venice, Paris, and Rome.
Both Cydones’ and Bessarion’s critical texts have been reconstructed on the basis of the manuscript tradition (according to the so-called Lachmann method) and have been accompanied by three apparatuses (apparatus fontium, apparatus criticus, apparatus internus) and indices (Index Graeco-latinus; Index Latino-graecus; Index nominum et locorum), complying with the standards of the ‘Corpus Christianorum – Series Graeca’.
As part of the introduction to the edition of Cydones’ text, his modus interpretandi has been thoroughly examined. In this respect, the question whether Cydones could consult a Latin-Greek glossary has been put. This question has been addressed via the in situ examination of manuscripts of bilingual glossaries preserved both in Venice and abroad, namely in Paris, Athens, Budapest and Kecskemet (Hungary).
Moreover, special attention has been paid to the reception of Cydones’ Translation in the 15th c. via the conduction of two articles. Additionally, most of the questions regarding Bessarion’s Compendium have been answered. Yet, the question regarding the specific reasons of its conduction cannot be answered on the basis of the available data. Still, the edition of the text constitutes the base on which further research will be conducted.
The research results have been disseminated to the public in several ways (one-way and two-way communication), namely by the organization of one Conference (Translation Activity in late Byzantium) and one Workshop (Thomas de Aquino Byzantinus), presentation of papers in Conferences, school visits, teaching and other activities (uploads in Ca’Foscari Media, Marie Curie Info Day, Researchers’ Night). Moreover, apart from the two articles, one more article on the preparation of the edition of Cydones’ text, as well as the Proceedings of the Conference “Translation Activity in late Byzantium” have been published, all of them in open access. The editions of both texts will submitted to ‘Corpus Christianorum – Series Graeca’.
The stemmatic classification of the textual tradition of Cydones’ Translation of ST Ia IIae has prepared the ground for the critical edition of the rest testimonies of the text, namely the editio princeps of two unedited partial Compendia of ST Ia IIae (i. e. Ignoti auctoris Compendium and Scholarios’ Compendium minor) and the re-edition of Scholarios’ Compendium of ST Ia IIae. On the other hand, the recensio codicum has revealed that the corrections in Bessarion’s and Scholarios’ versions have not been based on an unknown Latin ms. (as it was assumed at a very early stage), but are the product of these two scholars’ erudition. This in fact indicates that neither of them had access to a Latin ms. of Thomas’ text of ST Ia IIae. Moreover, a thorough study of Cydones’ modus interpretandi has revealed more aspects of his method and has offered valuable data for further discussion. Furthermore, more cases of the reception of Cydones’ text have been spotted in the corpus of Scholarios, whereas the reception-technique of the latter has been examined.
The research conducted within TASTGCEP has shed more light on the philosophical-theological dialogue between the Greek East and the Latin West in a period of intensive intellectual creativity. In this respect, the relations between the Latin and Byzantine culture are seen from the point of Christian Ethics, so as to enrich the History of Ideas in Europe. The publication of these texts will constitute an indispensable tool for scholars and students of Byzantine and Western European history and thought, since it sheds light on a particular aspect of European history.