Pico Della Mirandola On Christian Humanism

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Christian humanism involves “the belief that human freedom, individual conscience and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine”. It developed ideas, attitudes and programs swayed by humanism, but influenced by Christianity; it stressed the “greatness of the individual”. In Pico Della Mirandola’s work, the influence of this greatness shows the comparison of the characteristics of mankind to the rest of the world. In the first half of the article, the author states that although humankind is being praised, they are being praised for the wrong reasons. He assumes that although man is “the intermediary between creatures, close to the gods, master of all the lower creatures, with the sharpness of his senses, the acuity of his reason, and the brilliance of his intelligence the interpreter of nature, the nodal point between eternity and time, and…the intimate bond or marriage song of the world”, those characteristics alone do not suffice. There is much more to a man than those traits alone. Furthermore,…show more content…
He excitedly claims, full of excitement and enthusiasm, that God holds “great generosity” for allowing a man “to be whatever he chooses to be”. Man does not possess a definite nature in this life. He is a “shape shifter”. He holds the ability to act, live, think and feel to his heart’s content, which makes him different from the rest of the universe. For example, a plant has leaves, bark and branches, but what makes defines a plant is its “senseless and mindless nature”. An animal may have fur, claws or scales, but its “irrational but sensitive soul” defines its nature. In other words, every man is physically different, just as the plants and animals are; but unlike the plants and the creatures of the world, each man’s soul is truly unique and distinct from one
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