Of Being and Unity

Of Being and Unity

Of Being and Unity

Of Being and Unity

Excerpt

When St. Thomas More decided to marry, we are told by Cresacre More, he "propounded to himself for a pattern in life a singular layman, John Picus, whose life he translated and set out, as also many of his most worthy letters." The life of Pico della Mirandola which More translated was the Latin biography by Pico's nephew, edited and published in 1496. More's translation of this work dates from about 1504 or 5, although it was not published until 1510, and was originally presented as a New Year's gift to Joyce Leigh, a nun of the order of Minoresses. It is with More's Life of Pico that Rastell's edition of More's English Works opened.

These are interesting facts. Why should St. Thomas More have been so taken with Pico's character and career?

The popular superstition that humanism was a pagan thing is yielding before knowledge and impartial inquiry. The Renaissance was not all a return to the flesh-pots. It had its saints, and some of them were humanists as well. It was the Christian ascetic in Pico that called out to More, just as it is the Christian ascetic in More who calls out to us.

The other popular superstition (or shall I say rather the scholar's superstition?), that humanism in the Renaissance, and scholasticism (usually referred to as "the decadent philosophy of the Schoolmen") were irreconcilable enemies, is yielding no less than the other, though perhaps . . .

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