Werdegang des Antitrinitariers Jacobus Palaeologus bis 1561. 1. Teil: Frate Jacobo da Scio und seine Anhänger in der Levante
On the Career of the Anti-Trinitarian Jacobus Palaeologus up to 1561, Part 1: Frate Jacobo da Scio and His Followers in the Levante
This essay on Jacobus Palaeologus, born c. 1520 on the Island of Chios and executed as a heretic in Rome in 1585, explores the biographical experience of the Greek-Italian theologian in the Levant as a possible context for his journey towards a radical form of Unitarianism which went as far as rejecting the dogmatic boundaries between Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Based on documents from the Archivio della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede (Città del Vaticano) and the Archivio di Stato di Genova, section II of the article delineates the "itinerary", or the whereabouts and activities, of Palaeologus in Constantinople and Chios between 1554 and 1561. Reports sent to Rome by the inquisitors of Constantinople and Chios mention at least three circles of adherents of Palaeologus in the Levant which are studied in the following sections of the essay. Section III deals with Palaeologus's followers among the Dominican friars and the aristocracy of the island capital of Chios. Section IV explores another such circle in Pera (the traditional Latin Christian quarter of Constantinople) that was in close contact with the embassy of Ferdinand I in the Ottoman capital. Section V examines some references in the inquisitors' reports about supporters of Palaeologus among the Marrano (or converso) immigrants of Portuguese-Jewish descent in Salonica and Constantinople. The essay argues that Palaeologus's experience with the precarious situation of the Levantine Latin Christians in the realm of Islam and with the ambivalent religious situation of part of the Marrano migrants between Judaism and Christianity, contributed to the development of the radically Unitarian, inclusivist redraft of the Christian religion that he elaborated on in his later writings. Since no relevant theological writings of Palaeologus written prior to 1571 are preserved, however, this cannot be more than a hypothesis. In the second part of the essay, which will follow in one of the next issues of Acta Comeniana, the puzzling problem of Paleologus's theological development prior to 1561 will be re-examined in greater detail.