A Philosopher at the Crossroads

Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola’s Encounter with Scholastic Philosophy


This study explains how one of the most remarkable thinkers of the Italian Renaissance, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494), broke new ground by engaging with the scholastic tradition while maintaining his ‘humanist’ sensibilities. A central claim of the monograph is that Pico was a 'philosopher at the crossroads,' whose sophisticated reading of numerous scholastic thinkers enabled him to advance a different conception of philosophy. The scholastic background to Pico’s work has been neglected by historians of the period. This omission has served to create not only an unreliable picture of Pico’s thought, but also a more general ignorance of the dynamism of scholastic thought in late fifteenth-century Italy. The author argues that these deficiencies of modern scholarship stand in need of correction.

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Amos Edelheit, Ph.D. (2007) is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. His main book publications are Ficino, Pico and Savonarola: The Evolution of Humanist Theology 1461/2–1498 (2008), Scholastic Florence: Moral Psychology in the ‘Quattrocento’ (2014), and Humanism, Theology, and Spiritual Crisis in Renaissance Florence: Giovanni Caroli’s ‘Liber dierum lucensium’ (2018).

Part 1: Scholastic Formation and Training in Italy and Paris

1 Status Quaestionis

2 Pico in Padua (1480–1482) and Beyond

3 Pico in Paris: When and What

Part 2: Scholastic Traces and Influence. Pico’s Attitude towards the Scholastic Tradition

4 A Historical Approach: Scholastic Thinkers and the New Status of Philosophy

5 The Apology as a Case-Study

6 Pico and Albert the Great

7 Pico and Thomas Aquinas

8 Pico and Francis of Mayronnes

9 Pico and John Duns Scotus

10 Pico and Henry of Ghent

11 Pico and Giles of Rome

Part 3: Scholastic Reactions to Pico and the Reception of His Thought and Method

12 Bernardo Torni against Four Theses concerning Natural Philosophy

13 Galgani da Siena against a Thesis on the Nature of Sound

14 Pedro Garsia against the Apology

15 Picus ut pica locutus est: Giovanni Caroli against Certain Theological Theses

16 Antonio Cittadini di Faenza against De ente et uno

17 Pietro Pomponazzi against Pico on Astrology and Beyond: Modification vs. Rejection

All interested in Renaissance intellectual history, Renaissance religiosity, religion and politics in the Renaissance, Renaissance theologians, Renaissance humanists, Florence in the fifteenth century.
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