15.08.10, Bucossi, ed., Andronici Camateri Sacrum Armamentarium

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Tia Kolbaba

The Medieval Review 15.08.10

Bucossi, Alessandra, ed. Andronici Camateri Sacrum Armamentarium, Pars Prima. Corpus Christianorum: Series Graeca, 75. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. pp. lxvii, 298. ISBN: 978-2-503-54410-6 (hardback).

Reviewed by:
Tia Kolbaba
Rutgers University

Inadequate work on the sources is the biggest obstacle to a synthetic account of how Byzantine theologians responded to the challenge posed by the Latin West during and after the twelfth-century Renaissance. While many erudite editors have labored to bring Byzantine texts to light, anti-Latin literature was for a long time low on the priority list. The result is that much of what is said about how Byzantine intellectuals did or did not understand, admire, reject, and/or respond to the intellectual earthquakes that shook western Europe in the twelfth century and later still rests on a limited body of published evidence. Byzantine anti-Latin texts, we used to be told, are boring, repetitive, conservative, and unchanging. Never mind that we had only limited evidence for such claims because only a tiny portion of the corpus was available outside of manuscripts, and much of what was available was edited a century or two ago when the heat of confessional prejudice and assumptions about the perennial duplicity of the Greeks led to misattributions, errors in dating, and failure to recognize composite texts as such. But the picture is looking brighter. Publications of and about anti-Latin literature increase with every passing year--it is hard to keep up with them all--and the quality of both editions and secondary analysis is improving apace.

All of this prologue is intended to indicate how invaluable Alessandra Bucossi's edition of Andronikos Kamateros's "Sacred Arsenal" would be even if it were "only" an edition of the long and complicated text, which has until now been unavailable. Kamateros (fl. 1110-1180) was a well-connected imperial official and respected intellectual of the early Komnenian period in Byzantium. In a period obsessed with "heresy" of all kinds, including possible heresy among the Latins of the west, he wrote an anti-Latin text that both drew on a wide range of earlier material and influenced a wide range of later. Edited here is the first part of Kamateros's heresiological compilation, dedicated to the errors of the Latins, especially their claims of papal primacy and the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son (the Filioque). His combination of a dialogue (of the emperor with some cardinals, according to the text), collection of syllogisms, and collection of patristic citations (florilegium) not only reveals the sources and arguments available to and being developed by Byzantine thinkers in the late twelfth century; it also influences innumerable later texts, including ones by Nikephoros Blemmydes and Ioannes Bekkos. The often-cited anti-Latin treatises of Nikolaos Mesarites turn out, in light of this edition and some earlier work, to be largely verbatim reproductions of Kamateros' text.

Moreover, Bucossi's work goes far beyond editing a crucial text. Her introduction includes a complete account of the manuscript tradition, including a stemma and discussion of indirect witnesses to the text and its transmission; a thorough analysis of the sources and parallels in other texts; and a second apparatus of sources comparing Kamateros' florilegium of the Fathers to the critical editions of patristic texts. The last of these is an invaluable piece of information for Byzantinists seeking to understand how the transmission of patristic material worked in Byzantium--how accurate it was; how often it was a whole text and how often merely excerpts; what kinds of mistakes and misunderstandings might have been endemic; and so on.

The most important apparatus, however, is the meticulous apparatus fontium et locorum parallelorum. Our dating of the texts, our account of how Byzantine ideas changed over time, and our assessment of Byzantine understanding of Latin developments in logic and dialectic all depend on our determining precisely how the texts are dependent on one another. In other words, everything depends on better critical editions with careful source apparatus. I hope it takes nothing away from the Bucossi's work in editing a long and difficult text, which included the collation of multiple manuscripts, to say that it is the apparatus fontium that makes this a masterpiece. There is no easy way to do such source-analysis in Byzantine anti-Latin texts for two reasons, as Bucossi notes: first, "the search for sources and parallels of a twelfth-century text on the procession of the Holy Spirit can only be inadequate and conducted on an intuitive basic, since a large proportion of texts written on the Filioque is only partially edited and poorly studied" (xxvii). Second, "these kinds of argumentation are very similar in each text [which] makes it almost impossible to prove a direct derivation unless a verbal correspondence is found. ...I have been able to identify only a few passages in which verbatim quotations are clearly detectable. In the majority of instances, the assonance is clear, but not the derivation" (xviii). This sort of repetition of the argument, but not verbatim, holds true for both syllogistic and exegetical material in works from Photios' Mystagogia in the ninth century to the present. Bucossi has chosen, then, to record the parallels and verbatim correspondences from the five authors whose works form the heart of Kamateros' collection of syllogisms against the double procession of the Holy Spirit. The resulting apparatus is invaluable, and joins the important recent work of such scholars as A. Alexakis, A. C. Cataldi-Palau, P. Wirth, M. Stavrou, and P. van Deun, which in turn builds on important textual scholarship of the mid- to late twentieth century. In sum, an edition of this quality brings with it the potential for tremendous progress on a subject that seems to be interesting more people with each passing year. It is an extraordinary and brilliant piece of work.

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