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Oration on the Dignity of Man

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  448 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews

An ardent treatise for the Dignity of Man, which elevates Humanism to a truly Christian level, making this writing as pertinent today as it was in the Fifteenth Century.
Paperback, 71 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Gateway Editions (first published 1486)
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Philippe Malzieu
Sep 05, 2016 Philippe Malzieu rated it it was amazing
A classic of humanism. I discovered him when I worked on Kabbale. He had writed on it. If you observe the sephirot tree, you can see that it is not so different than hindu chakra or chinese médicine.
His project his to link all the great thoughts (hebrew, christan, persian, greek, arab...) of the humanity. It is an universalist ambition. He speak of the singularity of human which is a kind of "miracle". From this observation, he builds an argumentation to show the absolute carachter of human dig
Nov 23, 2014 Yann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yann by: Katie

J’avais déjà entendu parler de réputation du Pic de la Mirandole(1463-1494) comme un homme doté d’une érudition hors du commun, mais mes connaissances s’arrêtaient là. C'était un Italien issu d'une famille fortuné qui a mis ses moyens au service de sa soif d'apprendre: initié à la philosophie Platonicienne par Marcile Ficin, il se passionne ensuite pour toutes les sagesses antiques, qu'elles soient grecques, juives, iraniennes, syriennes, égyptiennes, arabes : rien ne l'arrête, ni la paresse, ni
Dec 08, 2015 Marie-aimée rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fr
Un très beau discours sur l'intelligence humaine, je dirais même qu'il s'agit d'un plaidoyer de Pic de la Mirandole pour la formation de l'esprit scientifique avant l'heure, qui se nourrit de toute la Tradition (grecque, latine, chrétienne et juive). Véritable sommet d'érudition d'un génie précoce, le lecteur, par contre, s'il n'est pas instruit de toute cette tradition et de sa transmission, est rapidement perdu dans les références. C'est aussi un moyen pour Pic de la Mirandole de démontrer son ...more
Aug 05, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a really lovely little book. It's actually the introduction to Pico's 900 Theses, his attempt to present a whole, systematic body of knowledge to a group of scholars in Rome for a public debate. He pulls information from everywhere he can find it, from Greek philosophers to Judaism to Persian thought. To a large degree it winds up being a mini-treatise on unity, as all of Pico's wildly diverse sources are brought together, with him asserting that they're all just iterations of a single ...more
this is why we're arrogant sons of bitches...
Bob Nichols
Sep 05, 2014 Bob Nichols rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pico’s religious philosophy starts at the top. God is perfection; perfection is pure; perfection is divine. The self desires to be like God, but it is imperfect. The body is consumed by animal passions, “torn by strife and discord.” The self is ego-oriented and oriented away from God. The body is the antithesis of perfection and pureness. The self must undergo purification rituals before it can entertain divine knowledge, which is the self’s path to union with God. Divine knowledge is the realm ...more

Sometimes called the Renaissance Manifesto, Pico's work is short but difficult to access for modern readers. Its ornate language and obscure references (e.g., to the nine orders of angels) mask the relatively simple but profound underlying thoughts.

Pico intended to summarize the state of knowledge at his time but unfortunately was unable due to an early death, though this monumental task would have probably been beyond his powers in any case.

In essence, Oration addresses the nature of man and hi

Mar 20, 2015 Maximus rated it really liked it
From the introduction by Russell Kirk:

'"The dignity of man" is a phrase on the lips of all sorts of people nowadays, including Communist publicists; and by it, all sorts of people mean merely the gratification of the ego, the egalitarian claim that "one man is as good as another".... [Real] dignity is a quality with which one is *invested*; it must be conferred. For human dignity to exist, there must be a Master who can raise Man above the brute creation. If that Master is denied, then dignity f
Jacob Stubbs
Jan 19, 2015 Jacob Stubbs rated it it was amazing
An excellent demonstration of the Renaissance Humanist tradition, which demonstrates the important influence of the Neo-Platonic tradition in Christian thought and the changing views on education in this era. Additionally, Pico's understanding of ancient texts and harmonization of them is both beautiful and impressive.
Nick Bond
Mar 05, 2013 Nick Bond rated it really liked it
My latest conquest was a relatively short entry to the literary canon called Oration on the Dignity of Man, considered by many to be a "Manifesto of the Renaissance" that typifies the attitudes that led to that era's explosive growth in art, science, and culture. It was written by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola as an introduction to his "900 theses" on religion and philosophy, most of which were never published due to his sudden expiration at the ripe old age of 31.

What makes the oration so intri
Sep 02, 2015 TheMythBookshelf rated it it was amazing
Delivered in Rome in 1486 by a twenty-four year old scholar before a platoon of erudite theologians and philosophers, Oration on the Dignity of Man is clearly the masterpiece of Renaissance humanism. Della Mirandola's oration fearlessly prepares the ground for debate around the 900 theses he proposed to such an audience, with which he sought to ignite passionate, intellectual discourses on every subject relevant to man.

The speech typifies the Renaissance mind and spirit, celebrating man's most
In this work, Pico raises more questions than he answers. Though this is precisely his goal, it is nonetheless frustrating to read only his outline of the soul's purification via philosophy without his justifications. For the first quarter of the book, Pico presents his notion of man and asserts humans' ability to choose the form of their souls. By cultivating various elements of our souls, we can become either subhuman and bestial, dragging our minds into our bellies, or perfectly human, ...more
Alex Kartelias
A fantastic and inspiring oration. Here's a man with a deep connection with God and with a passion and hunger for sapientia, who fails to see any contradiction between them. Planning to argue 900 propositions concerning the unison of Plato and Aristotle, the truth of Christianity within Kabbalah, pythagoreanism, Hermeticism and the relationship between Good and Bad 'magic', he is filled with the drive of learning not for the sake of glory or pomp, but, "for wisdoms sake". Many will falsely ...more
"I have wanted to make clear in this disputation, not only that I know a great many things, but also that I know a great many things that others do not know."

That about sums it up. The 24-year-old Pico Della Mirandola seems like a well-read guy. I only read this because Grant Morrison mentioned it in Supergods and because I've been on a renaissance kick lately. I really don't know what the historical value of this is.

First off, anybody who says this is a "manifesto of the Renaissance" needs to r
James Violand
Jun 27, 2016 James Violand rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one at any time, any where.
Shelves: own
A busy deceit by an extraordinary egoist. At twenty-four years of age, he alone had been able to synthesize the beliefs of the greatest - and not so great - minds in science, philosophy and theology... Need I go on? How was this one man able to acquire so much wisdom in so little time? He read!
Let's look at this from a practical viewpoint.
If he had read and studied all the works which he constantly refers to - no matter how obtuse the source - he would have also had to have read them in their o
Mar 14, 2015 Zelda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I read only the introductory materials and the essay "On the Dignity of Man", as planned.

Rather odd, if I can say so, being a bear of very little brain and all. This idea of the truth of Christianity being a thread one can trace back to ancient occult practices and Hebrew laws and traditions. Much of the support for this idea being founded upon texts that were later discovered to be forgeries. But still an interesting look at the how thought was developing in the early Renaissance.

Samuel Rogers
Apr 11, 2015 Samuel Rogers rated it it was amazing
Enlightening read.

Favorite quote:
"Philosophy has taught me to rely on my own convictions rather than on the judgments of others and to concern myself less with whether I am well thought of than whether what I do or say is evil."

Pico's intense love of learning and knowledge for their own sake is both inspiring and convicting.
Dizzy Lizzie
Interessante como sendo escrito na Renascença este discurso possuí ideias ainda hoje actuais.
Fiquei espantada com o facto de tão jovem Pico della Mirandola ter já tanto lido e escrito. Neste ensaio Mirandola procura demonstrar como o paganismo e o cristianismo não são incompatíveis. Fiquei curiosa para ler as suas 900 teses e recomendo esta obra a todos aqueles que se interessam por religião.
Paul Gaschen
Jun 16, 2016 Paul Gaschen rated it it was amazing
Pico's work was very interesting, and having read much philosophy from that era, I am impressed by how bold of a thinker he was at such a young age. Hopefully I will get to read more of his works. Plus, Kirk's introduction was a great exhortation - I thoroughly enjoyed the whole edition.
Jose Luis
Feb 22, 2013 Jose Luis rated it really liked it
A mi parecer, es una pequeña pero bella pieza sobre la voluntad y el esfuerzo humano. Aunque obviamente el texto tiene intención religiosa, prefiero verlo como un texto de inspiración para motivar cambios en nuestra vida.
Feb 22, 2010 Melanie rated it liked it
I admit that I read this to check it off of my list - not because I have an unquenchable interest in Renaissance philosophy. It was interesting enough to read, but I honestly didn't read with enough depth to get out of it what I would have had I studied this piece of writing in a class.
Feb 21, 2009 Kevin rated it did not like it
I read this on my commute to work the other day, and must admit I didn't read it too closely, but it pretty much bored the shit out of me. I think my mood may have been set by the poor introduction, which I think was written in 1956 and left me already disappointed.
Jun 29, 2007 Em rated it liked it
Shelves: read-again
I know I liked it a lot but I just cannot remember for the life of me what exactly I read here. All these texts tend to blur together into some weird indistinguishable hegemony in my mind, and I can't seem to attribute an idea with an author or book any longer. I should just reread them all.
Daniel Toker
I'm not sure by what criteria I can rate this, so I won't. But it is the "Manifesto of the Renaissance" - it communicates some of the philosophical underpinnings of humanism, and it helped me understand why the humanists were so obsessed with human potential.
Jan 14, 2015 Mary added it's place in the universe is somewhere between the beasts and the angels, but, because of the divine image planted in him, there are no limits to what man can accomplish....
Cody Smith
Jan 30, 2015 Cody Smith rated it really liked it
Not my brand of humanism. Still, Pico was groundbreaking in his time. A good introduction into Renaissance thought.
Apr 26, 2013 Shawn rated it it was ok
Oh my. I found this to be pure drivel, babble and gobbledegook.
I'm so glad this was only 37 pages.
Kendall Morgan Hall
Oct 07, 2014 Kendall Morgan Hall rated it really liked it
I read this books as part of the University of King's College (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) Foundation Year Program (FYP) and found it very interesting.
Nov 11, 2012 Scott rated it liked it
This book was brought to my attention by a poem called "El Adepto" by the Spanish poet Juan Carlos Mestre.
Charlotte Eyre
Este libro es bueno, pero mi estado de ánimo no es el adecuado para continuar leyéndolo, no puedo apreciar bien toda su riqueza. Así que dejó en alto esta lectura hasta otro momento.
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Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (Italian: [dʒoˈvanni ˈpiko della miˈrandola]; 24 February 1463 – 17 November 1494) was an Italian Renaissance philosopher. He is famed for the events of 1486, when at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the famous Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been ...more
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“'s place in the universe is somewhere between the beasts and the angels, but, because of the divine image planted in him, there are no limits to what man can accomplish....” 16 likes
“We have given you, O Adam, no visage proper to yourself, nor endowment properly your own, in order that whatever place, whatever form, whatever gifts you may, with premeditation, select, these same you may have and possess through your own judgement and decision. The nature of all other creatures is defined and restricted within laws which We have laid down; you, by contrast, impeded by no such restrictions, may, by your own free will, to whose custody We have assigned you, trace for yourself the lineaments of your own nature [...]. We have made you a creature neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, in order that you may, as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of life; you will be able, through your own decision, to rise again to the superior orders whose life is divine.” 12 likes
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