Alvarus Pelagius in Riga: Late Medieval Religious Polemics against the Greek in Livonian Manuscript Culture

in Forschungen zur baltischen Geschichte
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Kerli Kraus
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Abstract

This article addresses the texts in a manuscript held by the library of the Geistliches Ministerium in Greifswald, Germany, as 9.B.IV, fol. 237r–254v. The texts have previously been identified as Contra errores ecclesiae Graecanae by the Portuguese theologian Andreas de Escobar (1366/67–1439). The content analysis of the manuscript proved the texts to be parts of Collyrium fidei by the Spanish canonist Alvarus Pelagius (1275/80–1349/50). Folios 237r–252v contain the sixth section of Pelagius’ tract (Contra) errores gr(a)ecorum. The rest of the manuscript is an excerpt from the fifth part of Collyrium fidei, a polemical response to Marsilius of Padua (1275–1342). The manuscript originally belonged to the private library of the Greifswald legal scholar and priest Johannes Meilof (1435–1505). Meilof ordered the texts to be copied in Riga in the 1470s. It is possible that the polemical works against the Greek or Orthodox Church were originally acquired by the Livonian participants in the Council of Basel. The context of the potential use of the text in Livonia was the “Russian threat” which started to play an increasingly important role in Livonian political polemics during the second half of the 15th century and included the argument about the “schismatic” religion of Russians.

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