Fast Reviews of Books in Renaissance Intellectual History:
Contact: Dr. Heinrich C. Kuhn
Document created: 1998-10-21
Nikolaus von Kues. Geschichte einer Entwicklung
Vorlesungen zur Einführung in seine Philosophie
Frankfurt am Main [Vittorio Klostermann] 1998
Price: DEM 118 (= ca. EUR 60)
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This title was reviewed by: Heinrich C. Kuhn of "Institut für Geistesgeschichte und Philosophie der Renaissance (München)"
Item arrived at GGREN on:(not applicable: this is a book regularily purchased for our library)
Review was finished on:1998-10-21
- This is not the first text to be written by Flasch on Nicolaus Cusanus, it is not even the first of his monographs on this 15th century writer and actor on numerous stages. The pages on Cusanus in Flasch's more general works on pre-16th century philosophy are fewer than one might have wished, his text on "Nikolaus von Kues und Pico della Mirandola" in "Mitteilungen und Forschungsbeiträge der Cusanus-Gesellaschaft 14(1980) is both specialized and short. His 1973 book "Die Metaphysik des Einen bei Nikolaus von Kues. - Problemgeschichtliche Stellung und systematische Bedeutung" (still worth reading) had its focus on metaphysics, tried to place Cusanus in a continuum of philosophic development and is characterised to a good deal by a rather Hegelian way of writing intellectual history (a history of problems instead of a history of the humans that dealt with them), and is a text written by someone who then acted more as a philosopher than as a historian of ideas (cf. Flasch's own remarks on his older book on p. 13 of the book under review here). This new book claims to give a "genetic analysis" of Cusanus' thought without interpreting Cusanus' developments as teleological ones (cf. p. 12) and to interpret his thoughts taking account of the interpreted author's historic contexts (cf. p. 9sqq.). The fullfillment of these claims resulted in a very readable and often excitingbook; it is longer than Flasch's short introductions to Cusanus in the more general texts mentioned above, but it is (almost) never boring. But be aware: this is still a philosopher's book about texts that are philosophic texts according to Flasch (cf. p. 542): so don't expect to much e.g. about Cusanus as a person involved in church reform or in local administration ... .
- After the short introduction Flasch's book consists of two main sections (each with two subsections), a short Epilogue, a very short bibliography (more specialized literature being indicated in footnotes to the main text) and indices rerum and nominum.
Section 1 subsection 1 ("Erste Einsichten - 'eher im dunkeln': 1430-1449) deals (amongst other things and texts!) with Cusanus first sermon, the coincidentia oppositorum, his statements on church and pope an councils, his de docta ignorantia, his De coniecturis, his mathematical texts.
Section 1 subsection 2 ("Jahrhundertmitte. Die Welt des Cusanus") gives a short sketch of part of the political situatation in Cusanus's time, the 15th century church councils, universities, Cusanus's connections to Italian humanism, Greek thought imported to Italy, ... .
Section 2 has the title 'Suedliches Licht - ''Die Wahrheit schreit auf den Strassen'''; the first subsection is dedicated to the years 1450 to 1453 and deals with Cusanus's Idiota-dialogues, his De pace fidei, and his De visione Dei.
Section 2 subsection 2 (dedicated to works from the years 1458 to 1464) is about Cusanus's De beryllo, his De mathematica perfectione, his De aequalitate and De principio, his De possest, his Cribratio Alchorani, his De non aliud, his De ludo globi, his De venatione sapientiae, his Compendium and his De apicie theoriae
In his Epilogue Flasch explains what a sort of a book he tried to write when he wrote the book under review here and reflects on his way of writing history of philosophy.
- prospective audience:
Undergraduate students of philosophy and history of philosophy with interest in early modern thought. Other persons who are interested in Cusanus's philosophy.
- The book is the written form of a series of lectures by Flasch. It is well adapted to serve as an introduction for philosophy students to Cusanus and for students of other subjects as an intruduction to Cusanus's philosophy. It is worthwhile reading for anybody interested in this philosophy.
- This is not the book on Cusanus (who was more than a philosopher (however wide your use of that term might be)), but for a lot of its readers it will become the book on Cusanus the philosopher. It is to be expected that its impact on future studies on Cusanus the philosopher by authors reading German will be quite remarkable.
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Biblographic data formatted for downloading
Author1: Flasch, Kurt
main Title: Nikolaus von Kues. Geschichte einer Entwicklung
subtitle: Vorlesungen zur Einführung in seine Philosophie
place of publ.: Frankfurt am Main
publisher: Vittorio Klostermann
no of pages etc.: 679 p.
aprox. price in EUR: 60
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