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486 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 29:3 JULY ~99 ~ need to adopt an apologetic tone in dealing with Plato's political excesses. The book stands, I think, despite its flaws, as novel and challenging, clear and well-argued, continually rich in suggestion. In short, it is, I think, among the most important contributions to Platonic scholarship in recent years. JEROME SCHILLER Washington University Ernesto Grassi. Renaissance Humanism: Studies in Philosophy and Poetics. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, Vol. 53. Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1988. Pp. xix + 145. $18.oo. Often the dedication of a book merely records a personal debt or acknowledges scholarly support. In this book, the dedication to Martin Heidegger informs the whole. Beginning with an autobiographical section, Grassi traces his passage from the Italian tradition of Renaissance scholarship in the early years of this century to his training in Germany in the twenties and early thirties with Heidegger at Freiburg. He feels that it is absolutely necessary for the understanding of his book that the reader know about his own intellectual origins, which emphasized the interrelation between Italian and German philosophy. For example, central to Grassi's approach to the Renaissance is B. Spaventa, who, in his Dellafilosofia italiana nelle sue relazioni europea (1913), argued that the importance of Italian philosophy for Europe begins with humanism in the Renaissance but that this impact was extinguished by the Inquisition. According to Spaventa, the Italian philosophical tradition was then transplanted to Northern Europe, especially to Germany, with Spinoza, Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel as the true disciples of Bruno, Campanella, and Vico. With this background, Grassi came to Germany in the 19~os, where he studied under Husserl at Marburg. There Grassi met Heidegger, whom he followed to Freiburg. At Freiburg, Grassi became a lecturer and, finally, an associate professor. Heidegger's interpretation of Greek philosophy was a revelation to him. Of particular interest to Grassi was Heidegger's view ofaletheia (truth) as an "unconcealedness of being," which-in Heidegger's view--was the original theory of truth of the first Greek philosophers but which was distorted into a purely epistemological theory of truth by Plato and others in the fourth and third centuries B.c. Grassi disagreed, however, with Heidegger's view that the Latin tradition was a misinterpretation of Greek thought. Grassi took this aspect of Heidegger's interpretation as a challenge to his own perspective concerning the centrality of Italian thought to European philosophy in general and to German philosophy in particular. In his Rhetoric as Philosophy: The Humanist Tradition (198o), Grassi argued that Roman thought in general and, in particular, Cicero's approach to language in his rhetoric contains a Heideggerian theory of truth as the "unconcealedness of being." In the present work, Grassi elaborates this thesis and argues that certain Renaissance humanists who engaged in the recovery of Roman rhetoric and who also defended poetry were in fact creating a philosophy which, in its emphasis on "verbum," rejected "res" and all purely epistemological theories of truth. BOOK REVIEWS 487 According to Grassi, humanist philosophy begins with Dante and with the conflict in his writing between his defense of"res" in DeMonarchia,where Dante--according to Grassi--defends the supremacy of abstract knowledge, and De Vulgari Eloquentia, where Dante--according to Grassi--emphasizes the need for historical language illustrative of truth as the "unconcealedness of being" and, by so doing, reverses the usual philosophical demand that language be nonhistorical. In his interpretation of Bruni as a part of this movement, Grassi quotes selectively and turns Bruni's well-acknowledged interest in the historical meaning of words and rejection of medieval translating techniques into a proof that Bruni, too, adopts a Heideggerian theory of language and truth. Other humanists who are part of this genuinely philosophical movement are Salutati, Poliziano, Pontano, Guarino, Landino, Vives, Valla, Alberti, Erasmus, and Leonardo da Vinci. The biggest surprise is the inclusion of Landino in this list, for it is well known that he was close to Ficino, whose Neoplatonic philosophy, in Grassi's view, defended "res" and ratio to the exclusion of any theory of truth or language as "unconcealedness ." Grassi completely reinterprets...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 486-488
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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