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The Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance external link was a reaction to the over formal, compartmentalized, over systematic medieval Aristotelian synthesis that was external link Scholasticism. The Renaissance movement was against the Aristotelian pigeon-holing. Hence, in a battle of psychological polarities, the lyrical, poetic, soulful Plato was preferred over the logical, scientific, unemotional Aristotle. As one historian puts it "Plato was not only the antithesis of Aristotle, he was the antidote to Aristotle." In addition, being more poetic, Plato was also felt to be more easily reconcilable with Christianity. Of course, things were never that simple, since "the philosophical instinct in the Italian Renaissance was to synthesize thought systems, to find a common, universal philosophy that encompasses a broad range of human thought. " [external link ref], which includes of course Aristotelianism as well as Platonism

The greatest of these synthesizers was the external link Platonist and Humanist external link Pico della Mirandola, of the new Platonic Academy in Florence, established by the immensely wealthy de'Medici family. And whilst the founder of the new Academy external link Marcilio Ficino sort to reconcile Plato and Moses, Socrates and Christ, it was his student the mystically-orientated Giovanni Pico della Mirandola who attempted to establish a universal religion based on an integration of Platonism, Kabbala, and Christianity. In 1486 in Rome he published his 900 theses on all possible subjects, "Conclusiones philosophicae, cabalasticae et theologicae", although some of these were condemned as heretical and Pico was forced to leave (such was the spirit of that oppressive age)

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 28 June 2004