Reflecting the broad range of interests of a major Renaissance philosopher and his distinctive brand of syncretism, this anthology offers in their entirety three central works of Pico's. _On the Dignity of Man,_ the quintessential expression of Renaissance humanism, appears in the context of two lesser known but equally representative mature works: _On Being and the One_, a treatise defending what Pico held to be the agreement between Aristotle and Plato on the relation between unity and being, and (...) _Heptaplus_, an interpretation, influenced by a blend of cabalism and Christian doctrine, of the first verses of Genesis. New Selected Bibliography. (shrink)
Giovanni PicodellaMirandola (1463-1494) decided to study all the ancient and medieval schools of philosophy, including the Pre-Socratics, in order to broaden his scope. Pico showed interest in ancient monists. He commented that only Xenophanes’ One is the One simply, while Parmenides’ One is not the absolute One, but the oneness of Being. Melissus’ One is in extreme correspondence to that of Xenophanes. As for Xenophanes, Pico seems to have fallen victim of ancient sources, (...) who referred to Xenophanes and Parmenides as members of the Eleatic “tribe”. In the case of Parmenides Pico draws mainly on the Platonic dialogues Parmenides and Sophist and not on intermediaries such as the Neoplatonists and other commentators. Despite of Pico’s knowledge of Empedocles’ philosophy, it is worth noticing that Pico was also strongly influenced by the medieval kabbalistic literature and the pseudo Empedocles. While Neoplatonists, such as Proclus, commented Empedocles and interpreted him according to the Neoplatonic spectrum, Pico’s appreciation of the philosophy of Empedocles was mediated through Arab and Jewish mysticism. Pico counted among his sources the Pre-Socratics, but the way he read them was not always direct and consistent. He intentionally chose to interpret them through the spectrum of intermediaries such as the ancient Commentators, the Neoplatonists, the Arabs and Jews mystics. (shrink)
The notion of human dignity stands at the core of contemporary debates on rights, politics, and ethics. Many scholars consider the Renaissance discourse on dignity as one of its main contributions to the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. This article examines the role of human dignity in the philosophies of Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni PicodellaMirandola. In their works human dignity relates both to freedom and to a Neo-Platonic ontology, which raises the question of (...) how they reconcile these two possibly contradictory elements. I show that starting from the insight that human beings are “naturally” free and able to make right choices, Ficino and Pico argue that human dignity consists in the ability of humans to understand what is good and to act accordingly. I thus defend the thesis that their conception of human dignity is not modern because it liberates human beings from the “history of being” but rather because it paves the way for their liberation to become rational beings. (shrink)
This edition of Giovanni PicodellaMirandola’s “De ente et uno” (“On being and the one”) offers for the first time a key text for the reformation of metaphysics in Renaissance philosophy in German translation. The Latin text is added. The detailed introduction and careful commentary reveal the guiding points Pico has set with this work.
Pico’s view on emanationism is ambiguous. Moreover, his position viz. emanation seems to change at times. He made his emanationism more elaborate and complex by incorporating in it Neoplatonic ideas and the Kabbalistic hierarchy. He attempted a reconciliation of emanatio and creatio ex nihilo, as certain Christian Neoplatonists like Augustine did before, but Pico’s main intention was not the defense of the Christian dogma. To illustrate this point, I note that he did not hesitate to interpret even the (...) book of Genesis through Neoplatonism and Kabbalah, despite the resistance of the Roman Church. Philosophical accuracy and integrity was not always Pico’s main concern since he intended to prove the concordia of all the major previous philosophies and theologies. Furthermore, he disagreed with Aquinas’ solution for the problem of emanatio and creatio ex nihilo. He went on defending emanationism by relying on scholastics like Albertus Magnus. The aim of this paper is to explore Pico’s dependence on Proclus concerning the relation of emanatio and creatio ex nihilo. (shrink)
This article tackles the construction of an exemplary image of the modern man in the 15th century. The corpus is centered on a fundamental work in the history of Western thought: Oration on the Dignity of Man, by Giovanni PicodellaMirandola, which represents the “spirit of a period” and projects an exemplary image of the human being through the rewriting of the origin myth. The manner in which Adam was created and how that defines the new (...) way in which he is fashioned will be the basis for a new way of being, free from the doctrine of original sin and without seeing his capacities as a human being diminished. Through the analysis of this mythological reconstruction and also through modifications of the biblical account, several characteristics of the man about to come will be uncovered. Special attention will be given to the displacement suffered by man in relation to the world, as Pico establishes man as a contemplator of the universe, the consequences of the liberation from the scala naturae, and the prominence of desire in Pico’s conception of man. (shrink)
The Tahāfut al-tahāfut is Averroes' response to the Tahāfut al-falāsifa written by Abū Hāmid al-Ghazālī. The work in its Latin translation from the Arabic was entitled Destructio destructionum, and an incomplete edition of this translation was published by Agostino Nifo in 1497.The MS. Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale, VIII E 31, unknown until now to scholars, belonged to Giovanni PicodellaMirandola. It is a manuscript of the Destructio destructionum, translated into Latin in 1328 by Calonymos ben Calonymos ben (...) Meir of Arles for Robert of Anjou, and extensively annotated by Pico. The manuscript differs from Nifos' edition in that it also includes the second part of the Destructio destructionum with the until-now unpublished disputations on the natural sciences. (shrink)
From both popular and scholarly works, the images Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad alGhazālī and Giovanni PicodellaMirandola often emerge in stark contrast: Ghazali, as the champion of mystical Islam, purportedly undermined philosophy in the Muslim world with The Incoherence of the Philosophers, a critique of his predecessors in the Arabic philosophical tradition such as al-Fārābī and Ibn Sīnā.1 In contradistinction to Ghazali's alleged destruction of philosophy, PicodellaMirandola seemingly wrote the manifesto of philosophy's (...) rebirth in the Italian Renaissance with his Oration on the Dignity of Man (Oratio De... (shrink)
Giovanni PicodellaMirandola is best known for his Oratio, one of many works containing his promise to prove that the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle are in agreement. Pico never fulfilled this promise, however, and commentators have at times derided Pico’s concordist project. The present paper argues that Pico’s notion of concordia was at least partly inspired by a jurisprudential habit derived from his early training in canon law. After examining Pico’s explicit (...) but dispersed statements on concordia, I then consider the circumstantial evidence for a jurisprudential origin to Pico’s project. As the habits and dispositions of Renaissance exegetes differed significantly from those of present-day interpreters of the history of philosophy, there is merit in looking beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries to understand Pico’s attempted concordia of Plato and Aristotle. An appreciation of this context mitigates the negative assessments of his enterprise. (shrink)
Although in his later years Giovanni PicodellaMirandola vehemently rejected astrology, he earlier used it in a variety of ways, but primarily to provide further evidence for positions to which he had arrived by other means. One such early use appears in his commentary on his friend Girolamo Benivieni’s love poetry, the Canzone d’amore, of 1486–1487. In the passages discussed here, Pico presents an intensive Platonic natural philosophical analysis based on a deep astrologically informed understanding (...) of human nature as he attempts to explain a perennial question, namely, why one person is attracted to a certain person , and another to others. I will place this discussion of the mysteries of attraction and desire in historical perspective by tracing Pico’s changing relationship to astrology during the course of his short but passionate life, and in historiographic perspective by revising Frances Yates’s still influential views concerning Pico’s contribution to Renaissance thought and his relationship with Marsilio Ficino. (shrink)
The person most often credited as the first to free humanity from its bonds in the chain of being was the Renaissance humanist Giovanni PicodellaMirandola. Scholars have asserted that Pico's chain-of-being doctrine was either inspired or predated by earlier European thinkers, namely Marsilio Ficino, Nicholas of Cusa, Allan of Lille, and John Scotus Eriugena. By analyzing the works of the previously listed philosophers, this article argues that Pico's philosophical doctrine was in fact predated (...) by no European writer. Instead, as the analysis of his works will show, the Muslim mystic al-Ghazali was the first to elucidate the ideas that are presently attributed to Pico. Furthermore, after researching Pico's library and scholarly development, the possibility that Pico was inspired by al-Ghazali's writings is assessed. It may be the case that a large part of the philosophical underpinning of Renaissance Humanism has its origins in eleventh-twelfth century Muslim thought. (shrink)
En este trabajo presentamos la traducción del latín al español de la carta de Giovanni PicodellaMirandola a su amigo Andrea Corneo de Urbino con introducción y notas. En el texto, Pico expone sus puntos de vista respecto una de las cuestiones que tuvo en vilo a los intelectuales del siglo XV: la de la elección entre la vida activa y la contemplativa. La carta trata, además, del llamado "incidente de Arezzo", un confuso episodio en (...) el que el joven conde raptó a la esposa de Giuliano Mariotto de' Medici. A lo largo del texto Pico se revela como imitador de los autores clásicos latinos, entre ellos, Séneca, Horacio, Gelio, Plauto, Terencio y especialmente Cicerón. In this paper, we offer the translation from latin to spanish of Giovanni PicodellaMirandola's letter to his friend Andrea Corneo from Urbino with introduction and notes. In this text, Pico presents his points of view about one of the most important problems along the fifteenth century: the choice between active and contemplative life. In addition, the letter enter upon the so-called "incident of Arezzo", a confusing episode in which the young count kidnapped Giuliano Mariotto de' Medici's wife. Along the text, Pico reveals himself as classical latin authors's imitator, among others, Seneca, Horace, Gellius, Plautus, Terence and specially Cicero. (shrink)
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