I pin it down to historical happenstance: Had the byzantines not sent over a smart dude to re-educate the Latin West at the otherwise doomed council of Florence, all Europe would have is Aristotle when Byzantium (the carrier of Classical Greek tradition and knowledge) fell…
Best two paragraphs – out of the Council of Florence page on Wikipedia:
The struggle for East-West union at Ferrara and Florence, while promising, never bore fruit. While progress toward union in the East continued to be made in the following decades, all hopes for a proximate reconciliation were dashed with the fall of Constantinople in 1453.
Perhaps the council’s most important historical legacy was the lectures on Greek classical literature given in Florence by many of the delegates from Constantinople, including the renowned Neoplatonist Gemistus Pletho. These greatly helped the progress of Renaissance humanism.”