Fabio Pagani

  • Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca et Byzantina (CAGB)
  • Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

My research background is in classical philology, but I have always had a strong interest in investigating the reception of antiquity with the aim of understanding not only how it influenced the culture of later periods whilst at the same time shaping our view of antiquity itself.

Up to now, I have focused specifically on the reception of Greek philosophy (mainly Plato and Aristotle) during the Byzantine Middle Ages and the Italian Renaissance. In particular, I have developed three lines of research.

First, I made an important discovery about the Byzantine philosopher Gemistos Pletho and his attitude towards both Plato and Christianity. I was able to demonstrate that he produced his own working edition of Plato by erasing (and therefore censoring) passages for reasons connected to his own distinctive philosophy and religious outlook. I am writing a monograph based on this fascinating case of a later thinker reshaping the text of an ancient philosopher.

Secondly, I have tackled the question of the reception of Greek philosophy from the point of view of Latin translations of ancient Greek texts. Using as a case study the fifteenth-century Latin version of Plato´s Laws made by the Byzantine scholar Georgius Trapezuntius (George of Trebizond), I have investigated the philological practices which were employed in a dispute provoked at the time by this controversial translation and which, I believe, shed valuable light on the history of philology in pre-modern times. Moreover, this case demonstrates that translations played a significant role in triggering (and shaping) philosophical discussions about how Greek philosophy might be made compatible with Christianity.

Thirdly, I am currently employed in the long-term project Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca et Byzantina (Berlin). My particular area is the reception of Aristotle´s Metaphysics in Byzantium, especially the role played in this story by the late thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century scholar Georgios Pachymeres.