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Pico Della Mirandola’s Oration On the Dignity Of Man

I once read that Abdala the Muslim, when asked what was most worthy of awe and wonder in this theater of the world, answered, “There is nothing to see more wonderful than man!”  Hermes Trismegistus concurs with this opinion: “A great miracle, Asclepius, is man!”  However, when I began to consider the reasons for these opinions, all these reasons given for the magnificence of human nature failed to convince me: that man is the intermediary between creatures, close to the gods, master of all the lower creatures, with the sharpness of his senses, the acuity of his reason, and the brilliance of his intelligence the interpreter of nature, the nodal point between eternity and time, and, as the Persians say, the intimate bond or marriage song of the world, just a little lower than angels as David tells us. . . . After thinking a long time, I have figured out why man is the most fortunate of all creatures and as a result worthy of the highest admiration and earning his rank on the chain of being, a rank to be envied not merely by the beasts but by the stars themselves and by the spiritual natures beyond and above this world.  This miracle goes past faith and wonder.  And why not?  It is for this reason that man is rightfully named a magnificent miracle and a wondrous creation.

What is this rank on the chain of being?  God the Father, Supreme Architect of the Universe, built this home,...

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