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Ficino - 13.2 The Soul of Man{1414 The ideas of the Greek...

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Unformatted text preview: 13.2 The Soul of Man {1414] The ideas of the Greek philosopher Ftato waist revived during the Renaissance by Neoptatonists who appiied his theory on transmigration ofthe soul to Christian concepts of resurrection. The leading espo- nent of this philosophyr was Marsilio Fieino. Some of his ideas on God and man follow. Source: Burroughs, Josephine. trans. 'Marsilio Fieino's Platonic Theology.” Journal of the History of ideas 5 {1944}. 234—235. ID Journal of the Historyr of Ideas. Inc. Reprinted by permission of the Johns Hop— kins University Press. W HCINO Man is [Efliijr’ the viear of God. since he inhabits and cultivates all eieraents and is present on earth without being absent From the ether. He uses not only the elements. but also all the animals which belong to the elements. the animals of the earth, of the water. and of the air. for food. eonvenienee. and measure. and the higher celestial beings for knowledge and the miracles of magic. Not only,r does he make use of the animals. he also rules them. It is true. with the weapons moeived from nature some animals may at times attack man or escape his control. But with the weapons he has invented hinoelf man avoids the attacks of wild animals. puts them to flight and tames meta- Who has ever seen any human beings kept under the control of animals. in such a way as we see everywhere herds of both wiid and domestieated animals obeying men throughout their lites? Man not only miss the animals by force. he also got’ems. keeps and teaches them. Universal providenee belongs to God, who is the universal eause. Hence man who prtwides generally for all things. both thing and lifeless. is a kind ol'god. Certainly he is the god of the animals. for he makes use of them all. and instmets many of them. It is also obsious that he is the god of the elements for he inhabits and eultitrates all of them. Finally. he is the god of all materials for he handles. changes and shapes all o‘fthem- He who governs the body in so [may and so important ways. and is the vicar of the immortal God. he is no doubt immortal. . . . Individual animals are hardly;' eapable of taking eare of themselves or their young. Man alone abounds in such a perfection that he first rules himself: something that no animals do. and thereafter ruies the fimiiy. administers the state. governs nations and rules the whole worid. . . . We have shown that our seal in all its acts is trying with all its potter to attain the first gift of God. that is. the possession of all tntth and all goodness. Does it also seek His second attribute? Does not the soul try to become everydting just as God is everydting? It does in a wonderfiti way; for the stall lives the life ofa plant when it serves the body in feedv ing it; the life of an animal. when it flatten: the senses; the life of a man. when it deiibetates through reason on human affairs; the life of the heroes. when it investigates nattn'al things; . . . the life of the angels. when it enquires into the divine mysteries; the [the of God. when it does everything For God’s sake. Every man’s soul experienoes all these things in itself in some way. although smls do it in different ways and thus the human species strives to become all things by living the lives of all things. . . . Man is a great miracle. a living creature worthy of reverence and adoration. for he . . . transl'onns himself into God as if he were God himself. Question: 1. In his opinion. what is man's position with respoctto God? ...
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