John Italus

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John Italus


Lived during the second half of the 11th century. Byzantine philosopher.

John Italus was a pupil of Michael Psellus and succeeded him as “consul of philosophers.” His interest in classical idealistic rationalism, particularly Platonism, which he acquired from his teacher, grew into a head-on confrontation with Christianity and church orthodoxy. At the order of Emperor Alexius I Comnenus his doctrines were reviewed at a church council in 1082, where they were anathematized. In an orthodox synod he was charged with denying god’s incarnation and with accepting Plato’s theory of ideas; he was also charged with believing that ideas and matter existed before the creation of the world (see A.F. Losev, Ocherki antichnogo simvolizma i mifologii, Moscow, 1930, pp. 847–48). His teachings influenced the Georgian thinker John Petritsi.


Opuscula selecta. fascicles 1–2. Tiflis, 1924—26.
In Russian translation:
In Antologiia mirovoi filosofii, vol. 1, part 2. Moscow, 1969. Pages 627–29.


Uspenskii, F. Ocherki po istorii vizantiiskoi obrazovannosti. St. Petersburg, 1891.
Uspenskii, F. “Deloproizvodstvo po obvineniiu Ioanna Itala v eresi.” Izv. Russkogo Arkheologicheskogo in-ta v Konstantinopole, 1897, vol. 2.


References in periodicals archive ?
In the eleventh century the classical scholar John Italus was brought before the emperor in Constantinople to explain their meaning and was frustrated by his inability to do so (Eustathius 1826, 219).
For example, he twice refers to John Italus, an eleventh century scholar in Constantinople who, as mentioned above, was unable to explain to the emperor the meaning of ivory and horns (Commentarii 219).