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.