De falso credita et ementita Constantini donatione Declamatio

ISBN-10: 0674030893

ISBN-13: 9780674030893

Edition: 2008

Authors: Lorenzo Valla, G. W. Bowersock

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Lorenzo Valla (14071457) was the leading theorist of the Renaissance humanist movement and the author of major works on Latin style, scholastic logic, and other topics. In On the Donation of Constantine he uses new philological methods to attack the authenticity of the most important document justifying the papacyrsquo;s claims to temporal rule, in a brilliant analysis that is often seen as marking the beginning of modern textual criticism. Widely translated throughout Europe during the Reformation, the work was placed on the Churchrsquo;s Index of Prohibited Books. This volume provides a new translation with introduction and notes by G. W. Bowersock, commissioned for the I Tatti Renaissance Library, along with a translation of the Donation of Constantine document itself.
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Book details

List price: $17.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 9/30/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 160
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.506
Language: English

A distinguished historian, humanist, and classical scholar, Lorenzo Valla was also the author of several works of philosophical importance. Born in Rome, he counted among his teachers Leonardo Bruni and the great humanist educator Vittorino da Feltre. He was ordained a priest in 1431, taught rhetoric briefly, then traveled through northern Italy before accepting a position as secretary to Alfonso I, King of Naples, with whom he remained for more than a decade. In 1448 he moved to Rome and accepted a position as a papal notary. Valla's most renowned scholarly accomplishment was his exposure of the famous "Donation of Constantine" as a forgery. This document had long been cited in support of papal claims to temporal authority in Italy; Valla's careful analysis showed it to be spurious. His Elegantiae, composed between 1435 and 1444 and first published in 1471, set the standard of correct Latin style for generations. As a philosopher he is remembered for the dialogue On Pleasure, also known as On the True Good (c.1434), which defends pleasure---interpreted as the beatitude to be enjoyed by Christians in the life to come---as the highest good, rejecting the Stoic ideal of virtue. His On Free Will deals with the apparent conflict between divine foreknowledge and human freedom, rejecting the standard medieval solution derived from Boethius and proposing Valla's own, which Leibniz would later praise. He criticizes scholastic theology and expresses reservations about reason's capacity to provide answers to ultimate metaphysical questions. In his Dialectical Disputations, Valla mounted an attack on Aristotelian logic and put forward his own novel alternative based on classical Latin usage. Valla serves as an example of a Renaissance humanist whose philosophical interests carried him beyond a merely stylistic rejection of medieval scholasticism. The Renaissance Philosophy of Man, edited by Ernst Cassirer and others, contains a translation of Valla's On Free Will. (See "General Works" at the beginning of this chapter.)

On the Donation of Constantine
Appendix: The Donation of Constantine
Note on the Texts
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