The Argument of Psellos' Chronographia

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Anthony Kaldellēs
BRILL, 1999 - History - 223 pages
This book is a philosophical interpretation of Michael Psellos' "Chronographia," an acknowledged masterpiece of Byzantine literature. Anthony Kaldellis argues that although the "Chronographia" contains a fascinating historical narrative; it is really a disguised philosophical work which, if read carefully, reveals Psellos' revolutionary views on politics and religion. Kaldellis exposes the rhetorical techniques with which Psellos veils his unorthodoxy, and demonstrates that the inner message of the text challenges the Church's supremacy over the intellectual and political life of Byzantium. Psellos consciously articulates a secular vision of Imperial politics, and seeks to liberate philosophy from the constraints of Christian theology. The analysis is lucid and should be accessible to anyone with a general knowledge of Byzantine civilization. It should interest all who study the history of ancient and medieval philosophy.
 

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Contents

Acknowledgements Introduction
1
Ęthos and History
23
The Delusions of Romanos III
28
An awakening to human affairs
31
Philosophy and Philology
37
A Wicked Doctrine
41
Imperial Askęsis
58
The Secrets of the Virgin
62
The Degeneracy of the Official Religion
109
Patron of Blasphemers
115
Psellos Enigmatic Confession of Faith
117
Philosophy and Rhetoric
127
The True Nature of Rhetoric
132
A Rhetorical Performance
141
The Redemption of Rhetoric
145
Political Philosophy and the Rehabilitation of the Body
154

An Impious Doctrine
76
The Secular Imperium
77
The Repudiation of Monasticism
80
The Liberation of Philosophy from Christianity
89
The Triumph of Nature Over Faith
94
Virtual Divine Grace
98
The Unspeakable Mysteries of Providence
101
Pietism or Prudence?
105
Psellos and Isaac Komnenos
167
Philosophy and the Throne
178
Who is the author of the Chronographia?
185
Bibliography
199
Index of Passages
213
General Index
219
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Anthony Kaldellis, Ph.D. Candidate (University of Michigan), held the Bliss Fellowship awarded by Dumbarton Oaks (1995-97). He has published a translation, with commentary, of the Byzantine historian Genesios, and a lengthy analysis of the historical and religious views of Agathias.

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