Impact and Relevance

As such work does not exist internationally, while the topic is virtually unknown to the Romanian readership, which has been losing interest in the Byzantine history and spirituality, such team research work, analyzing the last theological-philosophical controversies in Palaiologan Byzantium in a unitary manner, from an Eastern perspective, is absolutely necessary. Raising the interest of Romanian academic circles in the Byzantine culture as a whole, not necessarily related to Romanian history, and in the philosophical issues with theological reverberations, is highly useful. The Romanian Byzantinology school is still indebted to the issues of Byzantine history relating to the mediaeval history of the Romanian Principalities. The "national" perspective of such approach risks resulting in the loss of interest in Byzantium's history proper, and turning this world into a mere "archaeological site" for Romanian history, thus narrowing the horizons of knowledge in a country having a rich tradition of Byzantine Studies.

The present work will likely determine many Byzantinologists to consider the joint production of a new history of Byzantine philosophy, which might complement, correct and re-investigate this topic first addressed by Basile Tatakis, La philosophie byzantine,Paris, 1949.

The paper will reveal all aspects of the Byzantine cultural-intellectual life involved in the times' controversies, and will stir the interest in a comparative study of the methods employed by these polemics and those of the European Latin cultural envieonment, involved in similar controversies. Obviously, there is a Plato Byzantinus, determining the advent of the 15th-century Plato Latinus, that far the philosophus absconditus of Thomas Aquinas, just as the Byzantines' Aristotle determined the emergence of a new Latin Aristotle, freed from the shortcomings of the Arabian one.

An equally useful study would be that of the Islam's reception in the two worlds. Is there still today a "Byzantine" view on the Islam in the eastern area, which is predominantly Orthodox, versus a "Latin" one in the west, predominantly Catholic and Protestant? Certainly, the question is to what extent the Byzantine arguments of the polemic against the Islam are still valid and appropriate.

Last but not least, the hesychast controversy, which stirred the interest of many eastern and western scholars, is still highly relevant in the ecumenical context of the closeness of the two sister Churches, the Orthodox and the Roman-Catholic ones. The polemic against the Latins, or rather the Latins' theology, corroborating the hesychast controversy of the Palaiologan period, as many of their issued interrelate, might provide today the key to new meanings of old theological interpretations. Presenting and analyzing the arguments of Byzantine polemicists of the respective times may create the background for diachronic investigations into the evolution of the controvesy between the eastern and western theology in the post-Byzantine period, because today some circles resume these arguments, not necessarily anachronistic or alien to the current European context, but rather still valid and useful in a modern perspective.