Reform, Representation and Theology in Nicholas of Cusa and His Age: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Reform, Representation and Theology in Nicholas of Cusa and His Age

1st Edition

By H. Lawrence Bond, Gerald Christianson


362 pages

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Hardback: 9781409429609
pub: 2011-12-28
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While most works on Nicholas of Cusa concentrate either on his early career as author of the monumental 'Catholic Concordance' or on his later career as writer of remarkable philosophical/theological works such as 'On Learned Ignorance' and 'The Vision of God', the essays included here attempt to address the whole Cusanus, sharing common contexts, issues and themes. Following chapters on the legacy of conciliarism and ecumenicity, the story begins with the Council of Basel for which Cusanus wrote 'The Catholic Concordance', but from which he broke away, raising issues of private conscience as well as the balance between papal authority and representative councils in the pursuit of reform. The story then turns to the 'matrix' between Constantinople and a new council in Ferrara when Cusanus received a ship-board gift from the 'Father of Lights' and began to write his great philosophical/theological treatises. When taken together the essays in this book not only form a cohesive whole, they also enlighten aspects often left in the shade, such as the enigmatic aspects of Cusanus' participation in the council, and his mystical theology that reveals a man of faith in search of certainty beyond the well-trod paths of philosophical reflection.


'This solid collection of essays is divided between Gerald Christianson’s more historical pieces and the late Larry Bond’s more theological papers… Every essay in the book offers food for careful consideration, helping us understand the man from Cusa who was neither just a university theoretician nor simply a church administrator, but combined action and thoughtful reflection in a busy life and wrote a series of works that continue to provoke our wonder and admiration… Reading these two authors is, in sum, an intellectual pleasure that should evoke our gratitude for the light their essays shed on Nicholas of Cusa’s milieu and ideas.' Renaissance Quarterly

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; In memoriam H. Lawrence Bond; Guide to the citation of Cusanus' works; Part I Reform and Representation: Evaluating a legacy: The conciliar tradition and ecumenical dialogue, Gerald Christianson; G.G. Coulton: the medieval historian as controversialist, Gerald Christianson; Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini and the historiography of the Council of Basel, Gerald Christianson. Conflict Over Reform: Annates and reform at the Council of Basel, Gerald Christianson. Unity and Heresy: Wyclif's ghost: the politics of reunion at the Council of Basel, Gerald Christianson; Cusanus, concord, and conflict, Gerald Christianson. Representation and Authority: Cardinal Cesarini and Cusa's Concordantia, Gerald Christianson; Nicholas of Cusa, on presidential authority in a general council, H. Lawrence Bond, Gerald Christianson and Thomas M. Izbicki; Nicholas of Cusa and the presidency debate at the Council of Basel, 1434, Gerald Christianson; Cusanus, Cesarini, and the crisis of conciliarism, Gerald Christianson. Part II Reconstructions: Redefining the Theological Task: Nicholas of Cusa from Constantinople to 'learned ignorance': the historical matrix for the formation of De docta ignorantia, H. Lawrence Bond; Nicholas of Cusa and the reconstruction of theology: the centrality of Christology in the coincidence of opposites, H. Lawrence Bond. Locating Mystery: Mystical theology, H. Lawrence Bond; The journey of the soul to God in Nicholas of Cusa's De ludo globi, H. Lawrence Bond; The 'icon' and the 'iconic text' in Nicholas of Cusa's De vision dei i-XVII, H. Lawrence Bond. Seeking God Beyond God: The changing face of Posse: another look at Nicholas of Cusa's De apice theoriae (1464), H. Lawrence Bond; Bibliography of author's works; Index.

About the Authors

H. Lawrence Bond (1936 - 2009) was Professor of History Emeritus at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, U.S.A.; Gerald Christianson is Central Pennsylvania Synod Professor of Church History, Emeritus, at Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, U.S.A.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
RELIGION / Christianity / General