The Church in the Light of Learned Ignorance

The Church in the Light of Learned Ignorance

Izbicki, Thomas M.

Medieval Philosophy and Theology, vol. 3 (1993)


The years between 1436 and 1442 were vital ones in the life and thought of Nicholas of Cusa, who entered that period as the leading conciliar theorist of his generation and emerged from it as a papal apologist, “the Hercules of the Eugenians,” as well as one of the most original speculative thinkers of the Renaissance. Cusanus’s change of ecclesiological emphasis coincided with the eclipse of Cardinal Giuliano Cesarini, with whom he was closely associated, as leader of the Council of Basel, and the rise of Cardinal Louis d’Aleman, an ardent foe of Eugenius IV, to supplant him. This change of leadership itself coincided with the factional division of the assembly over the site of a council of union with the Greeks and a change in emphasis from open debate on issues of faith, unity, and reform to the attempt to declare conciliar supremacy a dogma.

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