Wilter Pérez Barrera HIST 102 Mrs Adams

The Divinization of Man in the Renaissance Tradition
Pico Della Mirandola

(1463-1494)
“Late December afternoon, the clouds as in the celestial coup d’État dominate the heavens; at the distance, the silhouette of a peasant looms on the horizon. He goes back home—a village of approximately three hundred families who, along with him, live a sordid life. Every morning, he wakes up and goes to work until the last ray of light is devoured by the enormity and inexpugnability of the night of a medieval village; when he is back at home, there is no artificial light. Consequently, he is unable to read a book; but it is not necessary because he has no books; even more so, he can neither read nor write. On the other hand, the few manuscripts available all deal with dogmas, epiphanies, miracles, or sin. On Sundays, there is a sudden sense of festivity and joy in the village. Early in the morning, he goes to church to listen to the interesting fables the priest has to share; later in the afternoon, he prays the rosary and has fun with his family. He has never left his village; the world for him seems constant and predictably monotonous. The seasons of the year are the only visible changes in his niche; for him the world is flat and the heavens lie on it. The inferno is located in the depths of the earth. The natural occurrences are triggered by temperamental spirits of good and evil; and the only way to alter those occurrences is through prayer. So is his life! From birth to death; and it will be the same for his children and grandchildren. Although, such is a lifestyle shared by the majority of the people in the world, there are some, in certain European cities, that are able to read and write. They, in their exclusive world, religiously and vehemently attempt to understand the universe. They postulate thoughts that ostensibly pretend to make sense of the world they live in. Their works are inextricably linked with mysticism and scholasticism. They have elevated and cultivated thoughts; yet all of that does not matter to the peasant of the village because he can not understand such complicated postulates. However, for some, the philosophical dilemmas are of vital importance that countless hours are spent in endless diatribes and manifestos dealing with the teleology of the universe. The Humanists, the most prominent group of thinkers, adopt the Greco-roman cyclical conception of history in stark contrast to the linear approach of the Judeo-Christians…”

Such was the lifestyle and philosophy of life in the world, when the bright and intelligent young Pico Della Mirandola appeared in the scene. Pico was born on February 24th, 1463. He belonged to a wealthy family—the castle of Mirandola was the house of the family in the duchy of Modena, Italy. He renounced to his family inheritance and passed it on to his two brothers. At the age of 14, he went to Bologna to study canon law; so he could procure an ecclesiastic career. The following seven years of his life were dedicated to travel to different universities in Europe where he studied Theology, Philosophy, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Syrian, and Arabic. During this time, someone sold him sixty manuscripts, supposedly originals, of the book of Ezra—that were meant to contain the secrets of religion and nature. It is thought that such writings influenced his later works. He was a disciple of Marsilius Ficinus and, like him, based his philosophical thesis on Plato. He invited scholars from all over Europe to debate him. And for the occasion he writes his celebrated essay: Oration for The Dignity of Man ( De hominis dignitate oratio)

he is adorned with intellectual capacity and spiritual stature.In Oration for The Dignity of Man. man needs an intermediary between God and him nor needs man the aid of an institutionalized religious hierarchy nor the rituals and dogmas that are practiced therein. Pico writes: “. The eradicated scholasticism used to base its epistemology in reason. Humans are the only creatures in the vastness of creation empowered with the . to love its beauty.” (Pico Della Mirandola ) In this new conception of the universe. It was not the part of His wisdom to waver in a needful matter through poverty of counsel. when the work was finished. the NeoPlatonist humanists grab a hold of mythology to define their truth. Humanism provides man with a new dimension. was swift and stern. nature is divinized and Christianity adopts a new perspective—undoubtedly. By divinizing man and nature. Pope Innocent VIII condemned the postulations and thesis of Pico. But. reigned over the minds of men. God the Father. The reaction of the church. It was not the part of His kindly love that he who was to praise God's divine generosity in regard to others should be compelled to condemn it in regard to himself. nor was there in His treasure houses anything which He might bestow on His new son as an inheritance. and the excrementary and filthy parts of the lower world He had filled with a multitude of animals of every kind. once again. now. and concretism. ad expected. imagination triumphs over rational analysis. . Therefore. no longer. empiricism. The region above the heavens He had adorned with Intelligences. the heavenly spheres He had quickened with eternal souls. and the lowest orders. This castrating movement of the Catholic Church was not rigorous enough to stop the emancipation of the human thinking. had already built this cosmic home we behold. it is because there is something else that caused it to change. and to wonder at its vastness. as well as prohibited anyone from attending the debate Pico had intended to carry out. according to the Oration. the middle. Pico postulations that natural and spiritual things were not empowered with freedom because such things had not the ability to morph themselves. the most sacred temple of His godhead. Astrology and pagan deities. In the Oration of Pico. All was now complete: all things had been assigned to the highest. Now. man is portrayed as capable and empowered with all faculties to situate himself wherever he pleases to in the Cosmos—which includes his relationship with God. He is a being conscious of his own glory. nor was there in the seats of all the world a place where the latter might sit to contemplate the universe. . by the laws of His mysterious wisdom. He finally took thought concerning the creation of man. He believed that if any part of natures undergoes a change or morphs itself. the Craftsman kept wishing that there were someone to ponder the plan of so great a work. humanists challenged the established order— which trigger events that went further than what they could have ever fathomed. The way man conceptualizes his surrounding and the phenomena thereof changes. But in its final creation it was not the part of the Father's power to fail as though exhausted. He is no longer seen as blemished and contaminated by the original sin. But there was not among His archetypes that from which He could fashion a new offspring. The moral authority of the church is criticized and the ecclesiastic dogmas are considered obsolete. man appears with the same radiance and relevance as he did in the classic Greek culture. when everything was done (as Moses and Timaeus bear witness). Christianity loses ground on its absolute postulates. Pico became the preeminent thinker who first voiced the beauty and privilege of being human. the supreme Architect.

and become artists in the modern sense of the word. they had been empowered to depict in their works the ability of man to create and change whatever he decides to. in other words. we can argue. the artists no longer were to solely depict the divine. but. began the liberation of man which found its epitome in the rise of new science.freedom to will its own change as well as change whatever surrounds him. we can say that the works of Pico della Mirandola chartered and paved the path Humanity was to follow towards becoming the cornerstone of Creation and the universe. our modern world had being birthed. Therein. and new cities. It is at this point in history that artisans cease to be so. new religion.) It was precisely this freedom of change that compelled Pico to reject the Christian doctrine of eternal punishment or reward. that is to say the ideas of Pico della Mirandola. Pico. we have the genesis of the revolutionary modern philosophies (Existentialism. etc. more importantly. Finally. . This had a tremendous effect on the minds and works.

Van Doren. New York: Carol Publishing Group. Tarnas. London: George Allen and Unwin. New York: Simon and Schuster. Charles. New York: Harmony Books/Random House. .Works Cited Russell. Bertrand. History of Knowledge. The Passion of the Western Mind. 1946. 1991. 1991. A History of Western Philosophy . Richard T.

” Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola The spirit that had given birth to the philosophical thought of the Greeks was to renaissance one more time with such vitality and strength that the very structures of society. universally. Thou shalt have the power out of thy soul's judgment. Thou mayest fashion thyself in whatever shape thou shalt prefer. particularly in its art. arts and music. In this period. science. . characterized by an economy chiefly agricultural and a cultural and intellectual life-style dominated by the Catholic Church. Neither mortal or immortal.Wilter Pérez Barrera HIST 102 Mrs Adams The Renaissance “We have made thee neither of heaven nor of earth. So that with freedom of choice and with honor. As thought the maker and molder of thyself. which are divine. and it is a period of European history characterized by a renewed interest in the Greco-Roman past. to be reborn into the higher forms. This fascinating period has its genesis during the XIV century in Italy. were destined to be redesigned. the fragmentized of the feudal society of the middle Ages. was transformed in a society progressively dominated by centralized political institutions with a mercantile and urban economy wherein thrived and developed the patronage of education.

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