World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Paul Oskar Kristeller

Article Id: WHEBN0008386144
Reproduction Date:

Title: Paul Oskar Kristeller  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Marsilio Ficino, Arthur Evans (author), Fine art, Bibliographical Society, Elia del Medigo
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Paul Oskar Kristeller

Paul Oskar Kristeller (May 22, 1905 in Berlin – June 7, 1999 in New York, USA) was an important scholar of Renaissance humanism. He was awarded the Haskins Medal in 1992. He was last active as Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University in New York, where he mentored both Irving Louis Horowitz and A. James Gregor.

During his university years he studied with Werner Jaeger, Heinrich Rickert, Richard Kroner, Karl Hampe, Freidrich Baethgen, Eduard Norden, and Ulrich von Wilamowitz. He also attended lectures by noted philosophers such as Ernst Cassirer, Edmund Husserl, and Karl Jaspers. In 1928, he earned his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg under Ernst Hoffmann with a dissertation on Plotinus.[1] He did postdoctoral work at the universities of Berlin and Freiburg.[2] At Freiburg, Kristeller studied under the philosopher Martin Heidegger from 1931 to 1933.[3] The Nazi victory in 1933 forced Kristeller to move to Italy. At his arrival, Giovanni Gentile secured for him a position as lecturer in German at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. It was at the Scuola Normale that Kristeller completed his first great works in the Renaissance: the Supplementum Ficinianum (1937) and The Philosophy of Marsilio Ficino (1943). In 1939, he fled Italy, due to the enactment of Mussolini's August 1938 racial laws, to live in the USA. Thanks to the help of Yale University historian Roland Bainton, he sailed from Genoa in February 1939 and by March was teaching a graduate seminar at Yale on Plotinus. However Kristeller taught for only a short time at Yale University until moving to Columbia University, where he taught until his retirement in 1973, as Frederick J. E. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy. He continued to be an active researcher after he retired. Paul Kristeller received the Serena Medal of the British Academy in 1958, the Premio Internazionale Galileo Galilei in 1968 and the Commendatore nell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 1971.

The emphasis of Kristeller's research was on the philosophy of Renaissance humanism. He is the author of important studies on Marsilio Ficino, Pietro Pomponazzi and Giambattista Vico.

An especially important achievement is his Iter Italicum (the title recalls Iter Alemannicum and other works of Martin Gerbert), a large work describing numerous uncatalogued manuscripts. After decades of neglect, Kristeller's lengthy, erudite essay of the early 1950s, "The Modern System of the Arts", in Journal of the History of Ideas, proved to be an influential, much reprinted classic reading in Philosophy of Art.


  • Der Begriff der Seele in der Ethik des Plotin. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1929.
  • The Renaissance Philosophy of Man. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1950.
  • The modern system of the arts, in Journal of the History of Ideas, 12, 1951, p. 496-527 and 13, 17-46 ; repr. 1965 and 1980 ; new. ed. 1990. (Web version)
  • The Classics and Renaissance Thought. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955.
  • Eight Philosophers of the Italian Renaissance. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1964.
  • Die Philosophie des Marsilio Ficino. Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1972.
  • Humanismus und Renaissance. 2 vol., Munich: Fink, 1974–1976
  • "Renaissance Thought and Its Sources". New York: Columbia University Press, 1979
  • Die Ideen als Gedanken der menschlichen und göttlichen Vernunft. Heidelberg: Winter, 1989.
  • Studies in Renaissance Thought and Letters, vol. I-IV, Rome: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1956-1996.
  • Iter Italicum. A finding list of uncatalogued or incompletely catalogued humanistic manuscripts of the Renaissance in Italian and other libraries, 7 vol., London: The Warburg Inst. 1963-1997.

Further reading

  • Thomas Gilbhard: Bibliographia Kristelleriana. A Bibliography of the Publications of Paul Oskar Kristeller. Roma: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2006 (Sussidi eruditi 72).
  • Kristeller, Paul Oskar. "A Life of Learning," Charles Homer Haskins Lecture for 1990. American Council of Learned Societies Occasional Paper No. 12 (date not shown).[1]
  • Hans Peter Obermayer, "Deutsche Altertumswissenschaftler im amerikanischen Exil: Eine Rekonstruktion". Berlin (de Gruyter) 2014.


  1. ^
  2. ^ E. Pace, "Paul Kristeller", New York Times obituary, June 10, 1999.
  3. ^ R. Popkin, The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle rev. ed. (Oxford UP, 2003), p. viii.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.