Giovanni Pico della Mirandola on Genesis

11 08 2008

Like many great religious thinkers, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola saw the end of all thingsĀ in the beginning. Having retired to a villa near Fiesole in Italy around 1489, Pico della Mirandola began to write about many controversial topics that were on his mind. Here he wrote works that among other things refuted the use of astrology and tried to reconcile the differences between Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. Here as well he wrote a re-conciliatory meditation on the account of creation told in the Book of Genesis known as the Heptaplus. As in all works, it was Pico’s ambition to reconcile various seemingly divergent strands of human thought to harmonize them in a Neoplatonic synthesis. In Pico’s reading, as in many ancient authors, symbolism and the spiritual senses of Scripture are used to draw out the metaphysical richness of the Hebrew text. For Pico as with many Christian authors, Genesis does not justĀ re-tell the beginning of history, but reveals its meaning and its end as well.
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