Alternatives to modernist progressivism in the work of Gemistus Pletho, or Plethon
Wednesday, 10 Dec 2014
First posted on Friday, 31 January 2014 at 23:00
Truth comes before error. This is the point!
I've just been watching an old recording of John Romer's Byzantium. Romer made an extended reference tothe philosopher Plethon, which brought a few things to mind from a book by an author with the memorable name of Niketas Siniossoglou.
In The Nomoi, (Plethon’s ‘Book of Laws’) there is a clear allusion to contemporary ‘sophistry’ and especially to Christian eschatology that was dominant in Plethon’s time. There is a difference between Plethon’s ‘wise men’ and these contemporary ‘sophists’: the former are not misled into thinking that the truth could be posterior to ‘what has been falsely said or what is falsely attested’. Truth comes before error. If an error is now identified, then one should turn back in order to recover truth. This statement targets Judaeo-Christian revelation and what we would now call modern progressivism. Though it does not indict a purely Christian theology of resurrection, a re-birth and fresh start through the new Adam.
It is not surprising that Ezra Pound thought that Plethon had developed the mysterium in new and interesting ways, very relevant to modern times. Pound refers to Plethon in the Cantos and in Guide to Kulchur.