Talk:Giovanni Pico della Mirandola

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Why is there no reference here of Disputationes adversus Astrologicum Divinatricem? It was a document of enormous influence on humanist history and probably was the single most effective intellectual stroke against astrology. Is it because it was published after his death by his cousin who was very much under the influence of Savanarola, and hence the text may have been seriously tampered with?

There is also no mention of Marsilio Ficino, Pico's great friend, or of Lorenzo de' Medici, his powerful patron. This does seem to be a somewhat orthodox view of a very unorthodox intellectual.

N.Harris Nay_Say 1/10/2006, 18:13 UTC

The article in large part appears to be a text dump from a 100 year old Catholic Encyclopedia. Feel free to edit boldly and remove old stuff and bring it up to modern standards. --Stbalbach 18:20, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Thank you. I am trying to make this page more readable, in sections. There are curious lacunae in the text, along with very accurate information, rather oddly written. No mention had been made of Pico's imprisonment, for example, and there seems to be a very strange distortion of his philosophy. I welcome any help. --N. Harris NaySay 1/16/05 18:14 (UTC)


There's a suggestion here that Pico was Poliziano's lover.. This is not very likely since Poliziano seems to have been in a loving relationship with Lorenzo from the time that he was about 15 and Lorenzo about 19. Amandajm 08:55, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Pico's return to Florence[edit]

The following passage has now been changed:

In 1486 he returned to Florence, where he met Lorenzo de' Medici and Marsilio Ficino, on the same day on which Ficino completed his translations of the works of Plato from Greek into Latin
  • The translation was finished earlier and printed in 1484 (Kristeller p18)
  • Ficino says that Pico arrived in Florence in 1484 'on the very day our Plato was published' (See Voss 2006 p21)

It seems that the first meeting with Lorenzo and Ficino occurred in 1484 (not 1486) and on the occasion of the publication of Plato in the year that Ficino had chosen due to the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. (Kristeller suggests that the translation was finished in 1668 under Piero, others give 1669.) I have now made the change and roughly integrated with the passage above and below - but this needs more work. The Berndogger (talk) 23:22, 18 September 2008 (UTC) (This comment updating (talk) 00:26, 21 August 2008 (UTC))

The Arezzo episode[edit]

According to Garvin's bio (p25) this occurred in May 1486 and before the completion of the theses - maybe even before their composition was begun. (talk) 05:08, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

"Pico based his ideas chiefly on Plato"[edit]

I am not sure this statement is helpful - "Eclectic Hellenistic Platonism" perhaps, but not Plato. But it might be more helpful to make a direct statement that Pico believed in, and worked towards, a concord of Aristotle with Plato, which Ficino, in defending the purity of Plato, thought impossible and opposed. Here Pico was driving against the tradition of the Florentine revival of Plato stimulated by Pletho's visit - which was explicitly anti-Aristotelian. Perhaps the article needs to be more orientated towards answering this question: What was Pico trying to do with his audacious plan for an extra-curial council? It was about the recovery of the ancient theology divinely received by christian and non-christian prophets and sages. In this is his affinity with Ficino. The premise of the 900 theses was his belief that while it is easy to find disagreement and contradiction between philosophy and theological schools, they do all nonetheless share some universal truths which can be drawn together into a new canon of universal wisdom. In their interest in this recovery of ancient knowledge, they both had little time for empirical science, but Pico's attack on astrology (which pervaded empirical science of the time) brought him into opposition, not just with natural science, but also with Ficino. (This also explains epistemological affinity with Savonarola and the surprising continuity with his nephew's sceptical fideism.) The Berndogger (talk) 20:05, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for this, Berndogger. I originally wrote the article, beginning with the only entry for Pico, a verbatim Catholic Encyclopedia (!) article which was in the public domain, from 1911 which was all Wiki had. There is mention of the fact ("Princeps Concordiae") that this was his aim, but it may not be sufficiently emphasized. If you would like to tackle this, please do. I based most of what I said on Kristeller, but much of the philosophy is skewed (by me, admittedly) towards his desire for fusion with the more foreign and (for his time) radical elements: Hermeticism, Judaic scripture, as well as Averroeism. Perhaps what I've said about Averroeism is insufficient to make your point. NaySay (talk) 15:17, 9 May 2009 (UTC)


I think the article ought to make clear that the title "Oration on the Diginity of Man" was not bestowed by Pico but given to this work by later generations. Pico simply called it "Oration." It is a mistake to categorize Pico as a humanist. Pico was educated in Paris as an Aristotelian and he did not think it important to write in elegant Cieronian Latin as the humanists did. Nor did Pico recommend an active civic and family life in the world as had been typical of earlier humanists, such as Bruni, Manetti, and Alberti, on the contrary, Pico planned to give away all his possessions and go barefoot through the earth seeking holiness and was a follower of the fanatical puritan Savonarola. Pico's belief that the Hermetic corpus and the Hebrew Cabala both affirm the truth of Christianity has been mistaken for an endorsement of religious tolerance by later generations. The fact is that Pico in no sense a humanist but rather a neo-Platonist mystic. For Pico man's uniqueness lay in his capacity for mystical union with God through the exercise his will. Pico believed in magic as an adjunct to prayer. He rejects astrology only because it seems to negate man's ability to find salvation through the exercise of free will. For what it's worth, Charles G. Nauert (in Humanism and the Culture of Renaissance Europe [Cambridge, 2006]) thinks that Pico's theology is deficient in that it overlooks the role of God's grace in salvation, but perhaps Nauert has an Augustinian perspective in this matter. I understand that in Greek Orthodox Christianity the idea of "self-deification" through union with God is considered unremarkable, though Roman Catholicism frowns on it. Mballen (talk) 16:09, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

Giovanni / Pico / Mirandola[edit]

The text refers to him either as Giovanni, or, further down, as Mirandola. I believe he is commonly referred to as Pico (see, for instance, the scholarly Should the article not be changed to reflect this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:20, 31 January 2013 (UTC)

Otto Rank[edit]

It's more than a little disparaging to describe Rank as simply "a rebellious disciple of Freud." One of the main themes of his 'Art and Artist' is that rebellion, while motivating, hinders personality development! Rank went far beyond Freud and even psychology in his work. It's like dismissing Joyce as "A rebellious Christian." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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