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Pico della Mirandola


  • Page extent: 238 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.52 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 195
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: B785.P54 P527 2008
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni,--1463-1494

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521847360)

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Pico della Mirandola

This volume provides a comprehensive presentation of the philosophical work of the fifteenth-century Renaissance thinker Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. In essays specially commissioned for this book, a distinguished group of scholars presents the central topics and texts of Pico’s literary output. Best known as the author of the celebrated “Oration on the Dignity of Man,” a magnificent speech originally intended to introduce a debate of 900 theses to be held in Rome before the pope, the College of Cardinals, and an international group of scholars, Pico also wrote several other prominent works. They include an influential diatribe against astrology, an ambitious metaphysical treatise attempting to reconcile Platonic and Aristotelian metaphysical views, and writings on a range of subjects such as magic, Kabbalah, the church, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of knowledge. The first volume of its kind in English, this collection of essays will be of value not only to advanced students and specialists of late medieval and Renaissance thought but also to those interested in Italian humanism and Renaissance Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism.

M. V. Dougherty is assistant professor of philosophy at Ohio Dominican University. His research in the history of philosophy includes work on the thinking of Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, and René Descartes as well as Pico della Mirandola.

Pico della Mirandola

New Essays

Edited by

Ohio Dominican University

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013–2473, USA
Information on this title:

© Cambridge University Press 2008

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2008

Printed in the United States of America

A catalog record for this publication is available from the British Library.

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Pico della Mirandola: new essays / edited by M. V. Dougherty.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-521-84736-0 (hardback)
1. Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni, 1463–1494. I. Dougherty, M. V., 1973– II. Title.
B785.P54P527  2008
195 – dc22      2007007711

ISBN 978-0-521-84736-0 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for
the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or
third-party Internet Web sites referred to in this publication
and does not guarantee that any content on such
Web sites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


List of Contributors page vii
1.   Introduction 1
  M. V. Dougherty
2.   Pico on the Relationship of Rhetoric and Philosophy 13
  Jill Kraye
3.   Pico, Theology, and the Church 37
  Paul Richard Blum
4.   Pico della Mirandola’s Philosophy of Religion 61
  Michael Sudduth
5.   The Birth Day of Venus: Pico as Platonic Exegete in the Commento and the Heptaplus 81
  Michael J. B. Allen
6.   Three Precursors to Pico della Mirandola’s Roman Disputation and the Question of Human Nature in the Oratio 114
  M. V. Dougherty
7.   Pico on Magic and Astrology 152
  Sheila J. Rabin
8.   Pico’s Quest for All Knowledge 179
  Carl N. Still
9.   A Life in Works 202
  Francesco Borghesi
Index 221

List of Contributors

Michael J. B. Allen is Distinguished Professor of English at UCLA and currently President of the Renaissance Society of America. An authority on Renaissance Neoplatonism, his books include Marsilio Ficino: The Philebus Commentary (1975), Marsilio Ficino and the Phaedran Charioteer (1981), The Platonism of Marsilio Ficino (1984), Icastes: Marsilio Ficino’s Interpretation of Plato’s Sophist (1989), Nuptial Arithmetic (1994), Plato’s Third Eye: Studies in Marsilio Ficino’s Metaphysics and Its Sources (1995), and Synoptic Art: Marsilio Ficino on the History of Platonic Interpretation (1998). He and James Hankins have just completed their six-volume edition and translation of Ficino’s masterpiece, The Platonic Theology.

Paul Richard Blum is the T. J. Higgins, S. J. Chair of Philosophy at Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. After obtaining his doctorate with a book on Giordano Bruno titled Aristoteles bei Giordano Bruno: Studien zur philosophischen Rezeption (1980) at the University of Munich, he taught philosophy at Freie Universität Berlin and researched postmedieval scholasticism, publishing Philosophenphilosophie und Schulphilosophie: Typen des Philosophierens in der Neuzeit (1998). Later he was professor of philosophy at Catholic University in Budapest. His most recent publications are Philosophieren in der Renaissance (2004) and a coedited edition/translation of Pico’s De ente et uno (2006).

Francesco Borghesi received his degree in philosophy at the University of Bologna (2000) and his Ph.D. in Italian studies from Brown University (2004). He visited several foreign academic institutions, including the Seminar für Geistesgeschichte und Philosophies der Renaissance at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich; the Warburg Institute in London, where he has been a Frances A. Yates Short-Term Research Fellow; and the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies at Columbia University. His research interests include late medieval and early modern literature, philosophy, and theology. Currently he is preparing a critical edition of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s letters and has begun work on a project addressing the diffusion of the idea of concordia during the late middle ages and aiming at exploring interactions among the literary, philosophical, historical, and theological culture of the times. He teaches at McGill University in Montreal.

M. V. Dougherty is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio. Among his papers are “Thomas Aquinas on the Manifold Senses of Self-Evidence,” The Review of Metaphysics (2006); “Descartes’s Demonstration of the Impossibility of Error in the Apprehension of Simples,” History of Philosophy Quarterly (2005); “Aristotle’s Four Truth Values,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy (2004); “Two Possible Sources for Pico’s Oratio,” Vivarium (2002); “The Importance of Cartesian Triangles: A New Look at the Ontological Argument,” International Journal of Philosophical Studies (2002); and “Perplexity Simpliciter and Perplexity Secundum Quid: A Look at Some Contemporary Appeals to St. Thomas Aquinas,” International Philosophical Quarterly (2001).

Jill Kraye is Professor of the History of Renaissance Philosophy at the Warburg Institute, where she is also Librarian and one of the editors of the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. A collection of her articles was published under the title Classical Traditions in Renaissance Philosophy (2002). She edited The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism (1996) and Cambridge Translations of Renaissance Philosophical Texts (1997) and was the joint editor of Pseudo-Aristotle in the Middle Ages (1986), The Uses of Greek and Latin (1988), Humanism and Early Modern Philosophy (2000), and Moral Philosophy on the Threshold of Modernity (2005).

Sheila J. Rabin is Associate Professor of History at St. Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey. She is the Book Review Editor of Renaissance Quarterly. Among her publications are “Kepler’s Attitude toward Pico and the Anti-Astrology Polemic,” Renaissance Quarterly (1997), and “Unholy Astrology: Did Pico Always View It That Way?” Paracelsian Moments (2002).

Carl N. Still is Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan. He specializes in medieval theories of mind and knowledge, especially of the scholastic period. He is coeditor of Being and Thought in Aquinas (2004) and Fortresses and Launching Pads: Essays in Medieval Philosophy and Theology in Memory of Walter H. Principe, CSB (2005). His previous publications include “ ‘Gifted Knowledge’: An Exception to Thomistic Epistemology?” The Thomist (1999); “Do We Know All after Death? Thomas Aquinas on the Disembodied Soul’s Knowledge,” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association (2001); “The Problem of Aquinas’s Notion of Reditio Completa in Relation to its Sources,” with Kevin Corrigan, in Being and Thought in Aquinas (2004); “Thomas Aquinas on the Assent of Faith,” in Fortresses and Launching Pads (2005).

Michael Sudduth (D.Phil., University of Oxford) is Philosophy Lecturer at San Francisco State University in California. He was formerly Associate Professor of Philosophy at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. He has also taught at Calvin College and the University of Hartford. His main area of philosophical interest is philosophy of religion, where he has focused on the concept of God, religious epistemology, and natural theology. He has published numerous articles in philosophy of religion, including articles in Faith and Philosophy, The International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, and Religious Studies. His first book, The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology, is in press.

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