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Tom 18 Nr 1 (2023)

Jewish Sources in Picoʼs Concept of “Dignitas Hominis”: An Outline of the Problem

18 maja 2023


The paper deals with Pico’s conception of man, especially with regard to his use of Jewish sources. This is mostly apparent in Pico’s works Oratio (1486), Conclusiones (1486) and Heptaplus (1488/89). Firstly, we point out his collaboration with Flavius Mithridates, who was Pico’s Hebrew teacher and an intepreter of some Jewish mystical texts (Gersonides, Nahmanides, Recanati). Secondly, we emphasize that at the same time Pico was in contact with another Jewish scholar Yohanan Alemanno as well. For this reason, modern interpreters (Idel, Lelli) believe that one of the main sources not only for Pico’s Oratio but also for his late work Heptaplus were some of Alemanno’s writings (particularly his Heshek Shlomo and Hay ha-‘Olamin). Therefore, I examine Pico’s syncretic model of dignitas hominis, which was inspired on one hand by Neoplatonic philosophy and Aristotelianism, and on the other hand by Jewish and Christian mystical tradition.