When Russell Kirk stated: "man was only a little lower than the angels, a being capable of descending to unclean depths, indeed, but also having it within this power to become godlike" (xii), he identified the key argument of the Renaissance, which would be encompassed in Giovanni Pico 's Oration on the Dignity of Man. The new, or rediscovered, ideas of the Renaissance are exhibited throughout Pico 's oration, and include: humanism, neoplatonism, and hereticism, which all struggle to blend with the traditional Christian thought at the time. The oration has been called the "manifesto of the Renaissance", because it accurately identifies the Renaissance ideas which were growing more popular at the time, and it reveals some of the arguments which were used to defend the study of these ideas. It was because of these ideas that Giovanni was able to simultaneously cherish both god and humanity.
It is important to first have an understanding of the ideas, which Pico discusses throughout his oration. Firstly, it is important to understand humanism, and that without it there is no Renaissance. Humanism 's overall idea is that humans are virtuous and good. When Italian philosophers read ancient texts, in particular ancient Latin texts like Cicero, they found the humanist ideology within them. The idea of humans being good, is a dramatic difference from the traditional Christian belief of original sin, and the inherent sinful nature of man. From the humanist belief comes the liberal arts, which sought to educate people to make them morally better people, and to overall spread humanism itself. Humanists, who read about Greek work within the already translated Latin works, desired to study the ancient texts, ...
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...iven the gifts of god 's image, and his free will. The idea of neoplatonism was that there was a physical and metaphysical reality, which was first developed by Plato, but later Christians reasoned that the physical realm was Earth and the metaphysical was Heaven, because it was in heaven that the truth was. Hereticism was the belief of a common theology, or philosophy, between all the cultures and religions. This idea as accepted by some Renaissance thinkers, who reasoned that god created everything, including the other cultures and religions, so that they must have a purpose, possibly to reveal truth that was hidden in their writings. Pico develops these ideas in his oration, and it helps him come to the conclusion to cherish humanity, because he cherished god, humanities creator. Pico 's thoughts, and oration, were a definite manifestation of the Renaissance.
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