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Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Studies of Selected Pivotal Ideas

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The dignity of man attained its greatest prominence
and was given its characteristic meaning in the Italian
Renaissance. As an idea it is usually ill-defined and
tends to express a complex of notions, classical and
Christian, which writers of the period desired to assert.
The word dignitas is a Latin rhetorical and political
term indicating either the possession of high political
or social rank or the moral qualities associated with
it. It is used with great frequency by Cicero who begins
to give it some of the connotations of general worthi-
ness it acquired during the Renaissance. It is derived
from the same root as decus and decorum (Sanskrit
dac-as, “fame”). Cicero discusses dignity as the quality
of masculine beauty as a subtopic to the fourth, but
most emphasized, virtue to be sought by man, decorum,
or propriety, which he derives from Panaetius' concept,
to prepon (De officiis, I. 27, 36). In the course of this
discussion Cicero applies the term “dignity” to the
human race, as that quality which distinguishes it from
animals (ibid., I. 30):

But in every investigation into the nature of duty, it is
vitally necessary for us to remember always how vastly
superior is man's nature to that of cattle and other animals:
their only thought is for bodily satisfactions.... Man's mind
on the contrary, is developed by study and reflection....
From this we may learn that sensual pleasure is wholly
unworthy of the dignity of the human race

(emphasis added).

Passages such as this were well known to the Italian
humanists, and following Cicero's precedent, they were
able to identify the dignity of man with humanitas
itself, the quality of being most truly human which
was to be acquired through the study of the liberal
arts—the studia humanitatis, from which they derived
their name. The notion of the dignity of man is thus
in its origins linked with the Petrarchan ideal of the
viri illustres stressing high civic or military achieve-
ment to be attained through emulation of Roman
heroes, i.e., with the pursuit of glory or fame.

Moreover, Renaissance humanists found in Cicero
another even more precise depiction of the excellence
of the human species, and this one also derived from
Stoic-Middle Platonist Greek sources, most likely
Posidonius. After discussing the rationality, design, and
providential character of the cosmos as a whole and
its inanimate and animate parts, the Stoic, “Balbus,”
presents his arguments “that the human race has been
the especial beneficiary of the immortal gods” (De na-
tura deorum
II, 54-66). Man excels in the intricacy and
functional aptness of his organs and physiology, in his
erect posture from which he contemplates the heavens,
in the acuteness of his senses, in his mind and intellect,
in his gift of speech, in the pliancy and ingenuity of
his hands with which he creates the works of civili-
zation, has dominion over the earth, and sets about
“the fashioning of another world, as it were, within
the bounds and precincts of the one we have.” And
all of this is the outcome of a general providence with
which divinity looks after the human race and of a
special concern for individuals who are even assigned
particular gods as their guardians.

This analysis of the excellence of man, as presented
by Cicero, may be regarded as the most fully developed
classical laudation of the dignity of man that has
survived, and as representative of Greek rationalism
and optimism at its peak. Whether it is a direct trans-
position of the ideas of Posidonius or a Ciceronian
synthesis of other sources, it was to have a direct and
powerful influence on Renaissance humanist treatises
on the dignity of man. But long before this happened,
in antiquity, this cluster of ideas was blended with
biblical conceptions of the nature and role of man in
the universe within the history of the Judeo-Christian
tradition. From the combination of these two traditions
the Renaissance idea of the dignity of man specifically

The critical text was Genesis 1:26, “And God said,
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...,”


supplemented by 1:28, “And God blessed them, and
God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and
replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air, and
over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

The critical exegesis was that of Philo Judaeus. His
first-century Hellenistic Greek synthesis of the Old
Testament and the current tendencies in classical
thought blending Stoicism, Platonism, and Peripateti-
cism seems indeed to have anticipated important ele-
ments of later pagan Neo-Platonism, and even certain
aspects of the Hermetic myths of man and the creation.
Unquestionably, and more importantly for our subject,
it had a strong influence in shaping the analogous
efforts of Alexandrian Christian thinkers of the second
and third century to integrate acceptable elements of
classical thought with their scriptural faith.

In his commentary on Genesis, The Mosaic Creation
(De opificio mundi), Philo stresses that the divine
image in man is the mind. Molded after the archetype
of the Mind of the universe, the human mind is like
a god in man. Man was created by God for the double
purpose of utilizing the universe and contemplating
its maker; therefore, it was necessary that the rest of
the universe be already created and that man be made
on the sixth day. God “desired that on coming into
the world man might at once find both a banquet and
a most sacred display....” Since man's mind was
created out of divine breath and man's body from clay,
“man is the borderland between mortal and immortal
nature...,” an idea repeated both by ancient and
Renaissance Neo-Platonists.

The principal contributions of the Greek Fathers to
the development of this theme were made by Clement
of Alexandria and Origen in proximate dependence on
Philo, and by Basil and Gregory of Nyssa in less direct
dependence on him. Although important variations
were present among them, all four were heavily influ-
enced by Platonism. A central emphasis was on man's
“similitude” to God, which in the Greek word of the
Septuagint, homoiosis, connoted the dynamic process
of becoming like God, or Platonic “assimilation.” Man's
creation in the divine “image” indicated his original
state of perfection, whereas, after the Fall, man was
involved, through the Incarnation, in a process of
movement toward a restoration of the “image” in a
heavenly state, finally fulfilling man's creation in the
image and likeness of God. This process was a mimesis
of God or of Christ. Regarding the soul as a “mirror,”
Gregory of Nyssa teaches that by “seeing” and
“knowing” God in one's self, by assimilation, man
becomes like God, theopoiesis or theosis, moving from
homoiosis or praxis of virtue and purification to theoria
or gnosis in an infinite mystical progression.

Gregory of Nyssa's most specific treatment of the
status of man was his De opificio hominis (On the
Creation of Man
), extending his brother Basil's uncom-
pleted commentary on the creation, his Hexaemeron,
to the divine work of the sixth day. Gregory's treatise
was translated into Latin in the late fifth century by
Dionysius Exiguus and again by Scotus Erigena in the
ninth, and thus was available in the Latin West as a
model for successive schools of Christian Platonism.

Somewhat out of the main line of Greek develop-
ment, but also influential in the West through eleventh-
and twelfth-century translations by Alfanus and by
Burgundio of Pisa, was the late fourth-century treatise
of Nemesius of Emesa, De natura hominis, ordinarily
confused by Latin copyists with the treatise of Gregory
just mentioned. Man, in his own person, joins mortals
with immortals, rational beings with irrational; as a
microcosm (mikros kosmos) he reflects the whole crea-
tion; by divine providence all creatures have their
being for him; for man's sake God became man so that
man might reign on high being made in the image and
likeness of God: “how can we exaggerate the dignity
of his place in the creation?” Echoing Sophocles'
Antigone, Nemesius proclaims:

Man crosses the mighty deep, contemplates the range of
the heavens, notes the motion, position, and size of the stars,
and reaps a harvest from both land and sea, learns all kinds
of knowledge, gains skill in arts, pursues scientific inquiry.
... He gives order to creation. Devils are subject to him.
He explores the nature of every kind of being. He busies
himself with the knowing of God and is God's house and

(De natura hominis, trans. W. Telfer, Library of
Christian Classics, Philadelphia [1955], IV, 254-55).

Stressing man's this-worldly role and powers, as well
as his eschatological ends, drawing on a wider range
of classical sources than Gregory, and certainly
dependent on the Stoic tradition associated with
Posidonius, and on Galen and the Peripatetics,
Nemesius was a rich source of both classical and Chris-
tian ideas about the nature of man. His treatise was
available and used by twelfth- and thirteenth-century
theologians. In its emphasis on both the sacred and
secular goals of man, it clearly anticipates the Renais-
sance conception of the dignity of man. It enjoyed
sufficient prestige to be included in the library pre-
pared for Federigo, Duke of Urbino (Bibliotheca Vati-
cana, Codex Urbinatus latinus 485), and among the
Greek manuscripts assembled by Giannozzo Manetti
(Palatinus graecus 385), himself a principal author of
the genre among the Italian humanists. An even more
popular and widely diffused Greek patristic work in
Latin translation in the Western Middle Ages and
Renaissance contained generous excerpts from that of


Nemesius, John Damascene's De orthodoxa fide. Thus
there was no lack of texts offering models of the Greek
Fathers' synthesis of Platonic and Stoic conceptions of
the key position of man in the universe with the
biblical and Christian visions of man's dignity based
on his Creation and on the Incarnation.

It was, however, the teachings of the Latin Fathers
which, through the depth of their influence within the
Western theological tradition and through the constant
availability of texts, contributed in the most formative
way to the development of the Renaissance idea of
the dignity of man. The great and dominating figure
was, of course, Augustine of Hippo. But prior to Saint
Augustine significant differences from the strongly
established Greek theological tradition became appar-
ent in the works of Tertullian, Arnobius, Lactantius,
and Ambrose. Greek patristic thought in its depend-
ence on Platonism tended to regard the creation in
emanationist terms, so that in a sense the presence of
the divine image in man was an estrangement of the
divine nature; the reformation of man toward his divine
origins, after the Fall, through incarnational grace, was
a return to an original perfection. Latin patristic
thought placed greater stress on creatio ex nihilo, where
even the unformed matter of corporeality and earth
had a value in a divine order, and the justification of
man through the atonement meant a reormatio in
In place of a cyclical “renewal” ideology, the
germs of a notion of eschatological and even historical
progress were present. Perhaps these differences were
due to the circumstances that Western theologians
tended to be jurists and rhetoricians rather than
philosophers, as such more influenced by Stoic notions
of an immanent justice and order in human affairs, and
more oriented toward “action” as a fulfillment of ideals
rather than contemplation or mysticism as a release
from and transcendence of material chaos. Even though
strongly Platonist elements were present in Cicero's
eclectic adaptation of Greek philosophy to rhetorical
uses, it may well be argued that Western Church Fa-
thers tended to be “Ciceronian” rather than “Platonist”
in the classical influences operating upon them.

For Augustine the notion of man's creation in the
“image” of God was far more crucial than his “simili-
tude” to his Maker, which was a quality of an image.
Whereas creation according to an “image” was a di-
rectly purposive act that established a specific rela-
tionship between creator and creature, “similitude”
signified a formal relationship only, which of course
could increase with a man's progress toward his ulti-
mate fruition. Two works of Augustine were central
in establishing the tradition of Western thought con-
cerning the nature and dignity of man as a consequence
of the character of his creation in the “image” of God.
His De Genesi ad litteram is a carefully analytical
exegetic work that provided answers for most of the
thorny questions raised by the complicated language
of Genesis as well as by the twofold account of man's
creation. Subsequent medieval exegetes relied heavily
upon it; it was a major authority for Peter Lombard's
Sententia, for example. In his work Augustine inter-
prets the use of the plural in “Let us make man in
our image...” as indicating that the entire Trinity
participated in man's creation, a thought that was
seized upon later as further evidence of the great honor
paid man by his Maker. The Fall was interpreted as
seriously and severely corrupting the “image” of God
in man but not entirely obliterating it, whereas man's
similitude, which lay in his capacity to perform virtues,
was entirely lost until restored by the divine grace of
the Atonement.

A deeper and more significant influence came from
Augustine's De Trinitate, a work which not only sought
to establish the nature of the divine Trinity but also
examined all of the creaturely trinities to be found in
the vestigia of divinity immanent in the creation. Chief
among these was the trinity in man. Augustine saw
a correspondence between Father, Son, and Spirit and
the divine mind or memory, the divine intellect, and
the divine will or love. In the most particular sense
man's possession of the image of God meant that his
soul also was triune in the simultaneous and inseparable
possession of these three faculties.

Although man with his trinitarian soul was a spiritual
being (as were also God and the angels), it is significant
that Augustine gave full and equal value to the affects
and passions of the will, along with memory and intel-
lect. Intellect and will were regarded as equally
imbued with goodness or subject to sin, depending on
the direction of their exercise, good if directed toward
divinity, the creative power of the universe, defective
and thus evil if turned away. In this respect Augustine
and the Western theological anthropology influenced
by him were closer to the Latin rhetorical tradition
than to Hellenistic intellectualism and mysticism.
Moreover, though not denying the existence, need, and
value of mysticism and contemplation, there is an
inherent stress on dynamic action in which the human
will acts co-efficiently with divine grace.

Augustine managed to avoid the opposite dangers
of gnostic dualism and Pelagianism by this conception.
Moreover, his view of the body and of matter accepts
their full validity in their properly subordinated role
within the totality of the divinely sanctified creation.
Thus he regarded both an unformed spirit and body
as present in the initial creation of man in God's image
and likeness, which, possessing rationes seminales, are
given their form in man's second creation out of clay


and divine breath. It is in the discovery of the beauty
of form and the vestiges of divinity even in corporeal
things that man in his terrestrial existence is drawn
toward the Creator, but for this he needs the illumina-
tion of grace. Thus while an authentic structure of
Neo-Platonism is at the core of Augustine's thought,
derived from the influence of Victorinus and Ambrose,
and from his direct reading of the Platonists, this struc-
ture was significantly modified in a way that differed
from the Christian Platonism of the Greek Fathers and
which can be regarded as coming from his familiarity
with the attitudes of Roman Stoicism embodied in the
rhetorical tradition, above all those of Cicero.

Other classicla ideas concerning the nature and cos-
mic role and destiny of man were transmitted to the
Latin West (as well as to Byzantine East, medieval
Judaism, and, soon, the Arab world). Works such as
Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, Macrobius'
Saturnalia, and especially his Commentary on the
Dream of Scipio
(an excerpt from Cicero's De
) were late classical compilations containing
a mélange of ancient notions on creation, the eternity
of the world, the place of man, his goals, and destiny
that fed into and influenced medieval as well as
Renaissance ideas. Strikingly important among these
sources for future attempts to look at the dignity of
man's creation, nature, redemption, and even deifica-
tion were the legendary writings of Hermes Tris-
megistus, regarded as an Egyptian prophet-sage of
equal sanctity with the sybils as early as Lactantius.
These writings, dating from the first to the third
centuries A.D., were broadly concerned with the role
of man in the universe in relation to the Great God
and to the lesser gods; mythological in mode of pres-
entation, they purported to be early revelations of
Hermes, a supposed contemporary of Moses.

The corpus in large extent survived in the Greek
East. In the West a translation of a portion of it known
as Aesculapius and attributed to Apuleius circulated
as early as the time of Augustine who quotes it exten-
sively in book eight of The City of God. A number of
passages attributing divine powers and a destiny of
deification to man were frequently cited by medieval
discussants of the theme of the dignity of man as well
as by such Renaissance luminaries as Ficino and Pico
della Mirandola who begins his famous oration with
the quotation “A great miracle, Aesculapius, is man.”

Other later classical works and translations of a
Neo-Platonic provenance also entered into the body
of writings associated with discussions of our theme.
A work attributed also to the same Apuleius, On the
God of Socrates
and Chalcidius' partial translation and
commentary on Plato's Timaeus were among the few
available Platonic writings in the Latin West.

The problem of the theme of the dignity of man
in the Latin Middle Ages is complex and by no means
adequately investigated. Certain major tendencies or
occasions for discussing it may be distinguished as well
as certain chronological phases which did not neces-
sarily influence succeeding ones in a developmental
way. The first of four tendencies or occasions lay in the
continuing efforts at exegesis of Genesis and the com-
pilation of works entitled Hexaemeron or On the Six
Days' Work.
Here Augustine's interpretations from the
De Genesi ad litteram were formative. Medieval
hexameral literature is extensive and by no means
sufficiently studied, though an obvious means of tracing
the history of cosmological, physical, and anthropolog-
ical ideas. One may mention Bede's, Abelard's, Thierry
of Chartres', and Robert Grosseteste's versions, all of
which were influential. Works of this nature were not
confined to a single line of interpretation but reflected
the controversies and movements of their particular

A second type of speculation that gave rise to dis-
cussions of man's dignity and place in the cosmos were
the efforts to construct a Platonic-Christian theology
utilizing essentially Greek patristic and non-Christian
Neo-Platonic sources rather than Augustine's prec-
edents and version of Neo-Platonism. Unquestionably
the most important figure among those engaged in
efforts of this type was the ninth-century theologian
Scotus Erigena. His own work De divisione naturae
was an original Christian Platonist theology which
placed man centrally in the cosmic hierarchy as a link
between the spiritual and corporeal worlds. Moreover,
he added to the sources of Christian Platonism avail-
able in the West by his translation of Gregory of Nyssa's
De opificio hominis referred to above, and, most
significantly, of the writings of the fifth-century Greek
theologian who is known as (Pseudo-) Dionysius the
Areopagite. These, with their emphasis on a celestial
and an ecclesiastical hierarchy mirroring the former,
on the epistemological difficulties of passing from the
uncertainties of human knowledge of visibles to a
knowledge of divine invisibles, had a wide and varied
influence not only on the three major phases of a
revival of Christian Platonism, the Carolingian, the
Chartrain, and the Florentine, but also on the Christian
Aristotelianism of the scholastic period. These latter
thinkers found a certain parallel between the Christian
Platonist hierarchical thinking of the Pseudo-Dionysius
and the concern with hierarchy among the Arabic
commentators, both the Neo-Platonic and their
Aristotelian opponents. But in all these instances the
question of the place of man in the chain of being
became crucial.

Twelfth-century Chartrain Platonism was indebted


to Scotus Erigena both for his own writings and his
translations. More important were the number of
attempted new syntheses of Platonism and Christianity,
returning again, on the model of the Greek Fathers,
to the problem of man as an image of the divine
engaged in a process of assimilation in the recovery
of the lost glory of his creation and in a progress toward
a new, higher sanctification through the Incarnation
and the Atonement. Among the twelfth-century
Platonists who discussed man as both a microcosm and
a being able to ascend to the divine or descend to the
brute were Bernard Silvester in his De universitate
Alain of Lille in his De planctu naturae,
Thierry of Chartres in his De sex dierum operibus,
William of Conches in his Philosophia and his com-
mentaries on the Timaeus and on Boethius. Outside
of the more strictly Neo-Platonic circles the theme of
man's creation in the divine image and likeness, his
fall and the recovery of the divine image through the
incarnate Christ found expression in the writings of
such diverse figures as Honorius of Autun, Peter
Abelard, William of St. Thierry, Hugh of St. Victor,
and most importantly Peter Lombard who attempts
a systematization of earlier, chiefly Augustinian, Chris-
tian thought on the meaning and dignity of man's

A third thematic direction became manifest in the
late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. As early
as Lactantius' fourth-century laudation of man in his
Divine Institutes and God's Creation, an opposing
genre to the dignity of man, namely, the topic of “the
misery of the human condition” was to be found in
Arnobius' Contra nationes, and Lactantius' work seems
to have been a direct refutation. In both Arnobius and
Lactantius theme and counter-theme are arrayed
against each other. When at the end of the twelfth
century the deacon, Lotario de' Conti, the future Pope
Innocent III, wrote his famous De contemptu mundi,
seu de miseria humanae conditionis libri tres,
he also
promised, but failed, to write a companion treatise on
the dignity of man. By this time these two themes had
become recognized literary genres. Earlier in the cen-
tury a Cistercian follower of Saint Bernard of
Clairvaux, Alcherus of Clairvaux, had written a
treatise, De spiritu et anima, and had entitled the
thirty-fifth chapter, De dignitate humanae conditionis;
the work as a whole was a miscellaneous compilation
of quotations on the soul, and this chapter repeats the
theme of the nobility of man's creation. The chapter
in question itself closely paralleled a little work
attributed to Ambrose (but more likely Alcuin's) of the
same title.

A fourth aspect of the medieval consideration of the
dignity of man comes with the development of scho
lasticism and the preponderant influence of Aristotelian
and metaphysical modes of speculation in the thir-
teenth century. Even though there remain certain
influences of the earlier Augustinian and Neo-Platonic
interpretations, even though the same critical sources
are known and quoted by the scholastics, a major new
emphasis, even among the anti-Aristotelians, is placed
on a more naturalistic treatment of the nature and
powers of man, directly dependent upon Aristotle's De
Along with the formal consideration of the
nature and powers of the different parts of the soul,
there remains some concern with man's position in the
universe, but this is regarded essentially in static,
hieratic terms rather than as a dynamic, operative
potential for restoration of the divine image, or for
irremediable bestialization. While it would be ridicu-
lous to argue that there was a decline in concern for
the pastoral and homiletic role of theology in the cure
of souls, the impetus toward discovering a philosophic,
metaphysical, or scientific basis for the Christian vision
of the world was so powerful as to all but overshadow
the more traditional emphasis.

Typically the dignity of man was discussed in the
many commentaries on the Sentences of Peter
Lombard, not at Book I, Distinction II, Question VII,
“In what way is the image of the Trinity in the soul?,”
the traditional Augustinian occasion for stressing man's
dignity, but at Book II, Distinctions XVI and XVII,
“On the creation of man,” and “On the creation of
the soul,” where the question is typically raised of
whether the dignity of man, or the image of God in
man, is more excellent than in the angel. The answers
vary with subtlety.

Thomas Aquinas may be cited as one out of many

... properly and principally the image follows the intellec-
tual nature;... where the intellectual nature is more
perfect, there the image is more express, and thus, since
the intellectual nature is of far greater dignity in angels
than in man,... it is necessary that the image of God is
more express in angels than in the soul.... The image of
God is also assigned to man, but not so properly, with
reference to certain subsequent properties, such as that man
dominates the inferior creatures... and according to this
and other conditions of this sort, nothing prevents man from
being more in the image of God than the angel. But this
is relatively [secundum quid] and not absolutely because
the judgment of similitude and diversity which is assumed
from the essentials of a thing is much more firm

mentum in quattuor libros sententiarum,
Lib. II, D. XVI,
Q. I, art. iii, Parma [1856], I, 526; passage translated by
Charles Trinkaus).

Nominalist theology in the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, in keeping with its premisses, was skeptical


of such discussions. Gabriel Biel, for example, in his
commentary on the Sentences, avers: “Properly speak-
ing no creature is a vestige of the Trinity but only
improperly, metaphorically, or by assumption because
it accords with a corporeal vestige in many things.”

While the theme of the dignity of man had a varie-
gated history in classical and Christian antiquity and
in the Latin Middle Ages, it had not been developed
into either a clearly defined literary form or an
internally consistent set of ideas.

There were, on the other hand, certain elements in
the history and culture of the Renaissance which
favored its development into a definitive literary and
philosophical genre. One such element, certainly, was
the humanist movement, which in its commitment to
a revival of classical motifs in literature (rhetoric and
poetry) and classical attitudes in history and moral
philosophy was eager to demonstrate its equally strong
conviction that antique rhetoric, poetry, history, and
philosophy were not in conflict with Christianity but
could actually strengthen religion. The available theme
of the dignity of man, a genuine blend of classical and
Christian ideas and topics in its inherited forms, fitted
perfectly this requirement.

In the second place the very notion of “dignity”
involved the question of relative status, as its medieval
comparison of man and angel had shown; it thus fitted
with equal ease into the spread of a rhetorical outlook
through the influence of humanism in which the func-
tion of the arts is seen to be to praise or blame, the
encomium and the diatribe, and to establish the place
of the individual in the eyes of contemporaries, poster-
ity, and ultimately eternity by this means.

In a moral order guided by rhetoric there is, more-
over, an emphasis on individual achievement in action
as well as on inner moral worth as manifested out-
wardly by virtue. Whether the so-called individualism
of the Renaissance was the cause or the consequence
of the rhetorical outlook, there can be no doubt of its
existence, and this also, with its stress on freedom of
choice, was to find appropriate expression in the theme
of the dignity of man.

Finally, it may be argued, there was an inherent
tension between the increasing secularism manifested
in the expanding economic, political, and social activi-
ties of late medieval Europe and those elements of
medieval Christianity which stressed asceticism, with-
drawal, contemplation, poverty, humility, the anguish,
misery, and worthlessness of homo viator, earthly man.
There was no such tension between these new mani-
festations of the historical dynamism of human energy
and the equally Christian vision of the dignity and
excellence of man. This theme must therefore be
considered as a deeply formative pattern of Renais
sance thought and expression through its capacity to
offer a resolution of this tension.

The Trecento Italian humanist and poet, Francesco
Petrarca, was the first Renaissance figure to write on
this theme, and his circumstances and motivation are
revealing. He was perennially concerned with the
troubled consciousness and consciences of his own age,
its formlessness, its lack of depth of Christian commit-
ment, its morally and spiritually ruinous materialism,
its need for a sense of historical direction, its emotional
volatility, its shallow and shortsighted vanity, and its
intense personal and religious despair. More signifi-
cantly, he also felt that he knew where the remedy
lay, or at least the direction in which it could be sought.

A work of his old age, On His Own Ignorance and
that of Many Others,
was a diatribe against the
preoccupation of the established intellectuals of his day
with Aristotelian natural philosophy. He was not so
much opposed to Aristotle as to the unrelatedness of
his study to the moral and spiritual anguish of his
contemporaries. By this he aligned himself against both
the physicians and other lay intellectuals of the univer-
sity arts faculties and against the scholastic theologians
for this remoteness from the pastoral role of the clergy.
He cast himself into the new role of a lay moral
counselor to his contemporaries and called on others
to adopt this role as well, offering as models Seneca,
Cicero, Livy, Vergil, and Horace, who as Roman moral
philosophers, rhetoricians, historians, and poets had
cast themselves into similar roles. He sought to emulate
the work of these figures in his own writings. His
numerous letters to contemporaries are full of moral
counsel. His major historical work De viris illustribus
offered the lives of great Roman statesmen as examples
of men of dignity to be emulated for their moral virtues
by his contemporaries. His epic poem, Africa, was to
offer Scipio Africanus as a new Roman-Italian culture-

In turning to the pagan Romans as models of the
utilization of culture for moral elevation, Petrarch had
no confusion (despite many scholars' perplexity over
his seeming ambiguity) about the fundamentally
Christian character of his enterprise. Petrarch was
deeply Christian and deeply religious. He was quite
clear and quite aware that these classical authors were
not. An even more compelling and admired mentor
was Saint Augustine who had found for himself and
offered to the world a way of reconciling the Christian
revelation with those values of the ancients which were
culturally, morally, and politically necessary for re-
sponsible life in the chaotic historical and natural
world. In his Secret Conflict of My Cares, Petrarch
portrays himself, for the benefit of his contemporaries,
as experiencing a similar conflict to that resolved by


Augustine in his Confessions. The resolution lay, he
thought, in a religious renewal of faith and a trust in
salvation by grace that could overcome the prevailing
self-doubt and despair—and this should be combined
with a secular renewal of self-confidence in man's
ability to perform morally and socially worthy actions
as exemplified by the sense of civic responsibility of
the virtuous pagans. To stand firm and virtuous in the
midst of the blows of Fortune was more than to achieve
individual security or material success. It meant the
restoration of man's inner spiritual dignity without
which he would sink into and become part of the
chaotic morass of sin and disorder that were the condi-
tions of earthly existence. It meant the retention of
a spiritual self-confidence that was identical with a
confidence in the ever-available, divine mercy of the
Creator. The great perils in the life of man, which
endangered him in this world and the next, were the
superficial elation of superbia, when by whatever acci-
dent Fortune favored him, and the ruinous desperation
of accidia and dolor, when Fortune frowned. It was
essential for man to know his true condition and his
true worth.

Such were the motivations that led him to seize upon
the fragmentary elements of the theme of the dignity
of man that were present in the medieval and classical
sources known to him and to give them a literary
formulation that anticipated the Renaissance develop-
ment of this theme in its central aspects if it did not
necessarily serve as its specific model. Appropriately,
his treatise on the dignity of man occurred as a chapter
in his most popular work, The Remedies of Both Kinds
of Fortune
(II, 93, De tristitia et miseria).

Later humanist and Platonist discussions of the dig-
nity of man were more extensive and elaborate,
involving more complex theological and philosophical
concepts. Through all their variations, however, the
two basic arguments presented by Petrarch with
rhetorical succinctness remained fundamentals. Theo-
logically and philosophically, man's dignity derived
from the character and purpose of his creation and
the resulting position and role this gave man in the
universe, from the freedom and the capacity to ascend
toward the divine, conditions inherent in the image
of God in which he was created and restored to man
in the Incarnation. Historically and existentially, man's
dignity derived from his individual and collective ac-
tions and creations in this world from which came his
earthly fame and greatness, tokens of the individual's
contributions to the high cultures and civilizations
mankind invented and constructed.

The writings of two Italian humanists on the nature
and powers of man and his goals and place in the
universe were particularly critical in preparing the way
for the further development and a more general
acceptance and explicit expression of the theme of the
dignity of man when it was resumed some eight dec-
ades after Petrarch in the mid-Quattrocento. Coluccio
Salutati's De fato et fortuna of the 1390's sought a
reconciliation of the Stoic philosophy of the rela-
tionship of the individual and “providence” with the
contemporary Christian discussions of the theme. It
was again the ideas of Augustine that gave him his
cue. As did Petrarch and many other humanists,
Salutati affirmed the primacy of the will, and found
the basic creative force in the universe to be divine
providence as the manifestation of divine will. Within
it and in fulfillment of it human will acted creatively
in organizing the affairs of men in this world, and by
the very definition of will had to be free. Yet it was
totally in harmony with divine providence. Through
being voluntarily operative in the world, man ex-
pressed his condition of having been created in the
image of God.

Man would seek worthy ends both for this life and
the next and would manifest his active, providential,
voluntarist nature as the image of God, but he would
also accept the limitation of being God-like but not
God, Himself. In the ultimate deification of heavenly
fruition, however, he would attain the full realization
of his dignity which he could only partially attain in
this life in emulation of God and fulfillment of his role
as an image of God.

Although, for both Petrarch and Salutati, salvation
was a matter of supernatural grace whose actuality
man should fully accept to avoid the catastrophe of
despair and willful defection from his nature, men were
susceptible to rhetorical inducements to rational be-
havior and could be moved to love and dignity by the
incitements of their wills. For both humanists the
Roman Stoicism of Cicero and Seneca had shown the
way, though ignorance of Christ had left them blind
to the true faith.

Lorenzo Valla, on the other hand, found in Augustine
certain eudaimonistic elements which he transformed
into a Christianized Epicureanism and into a rhetorical
theology that was radically voluntaristic and even
erotic in its basic conception of human nature. Man,
in the image and likeness of God, was a trinitarian spirit
or soul, a single substance with the three qualities of
energy, intellect, emotion. Energy and emotion, weak
or strong, guided the intellect in its determinations,
used it as an instrument of their purposes, distorted
it out of extremes of cowardice or rage. Thus man acted
upon the world in pursuit of his pleasures, in fulfillment
of the urges of his passions and his love. If he possessed
faith and the hope of heavenly fulfillment, the divine
pleasures of fruition and the love of God for the sake


of the loving, not for His own sake, were his goals.
If, as after the Fall, and before the Advent, man had
no knowledge of the Christian promises, or other more
powerful allures weakened or suppressed his faith in
them, he became pleasure-seeking and utilitarian in his
instrumental use of the things of this world for gratifi-
cation. Valla was a striking apostle and advocate of
the power of man, when armed with faith, to transcend
all the basically animal-like qualities of his nature and
to rise to the semi-divine. He laid great stress upon
action, passionate and providential, in which man not
only emulated God but fulfilled his nature and dignity
as the divine image and likeness.

The most precise and straightforward statement of
these views of human nature is contained in the first
book of Valla's Dialectical Disputations (in its first
redaction called Repastinatio dialecticae et philo-
). On the other hand, he defended Epicureanism
obliquely in his On True Good (De vero bono, or De
in its first version). In dialogue form he pre-
sents first a Stoic's complaint of the ills of life to be
remedied by virtue, then an Epicurean's refutation of
virtue as an end and his praise of pleasure, and finally
a Christian's defense of heavenly pleasure as the true
good of man. The first version was written by 1432
and the third and final one by 1442. In 1445 or 1446
Bartolomeo Facio wrote On the Happiness of Life (De
vitae felicitate
) as a hostile imitation of Valla, defending
Stoicism and refuting Epicureanism but setting man's
true good in a Christian-Stoic vision of true happiness
as residing in the restoration of man's immortal soul
to its heavenly place of origin after a life of virtuous
restraint among the miseries of this life.

Discussions such as these of man's happiness and true
good, as also those on free will and fate and fortune,
were centrally concerned with the problem of the
nature and status of man in the cosmos and in this life,
and they led straight into the renewed treatment of
the theme of the dignity of man. In 1447 the same
Bartolomeo Facio was sent an outline of a treatise on
the dignity of man composed by an Olivetan monk,
Antonia da Barga (Libellus de dignitate et excellentia
humanae vitae
). Da Barga urged Facio to take this
treatise and add the polish and elegance a humanist
could give it, and thus produce the treatise on the
dignity of man that Innocent III had promised and
never completed. Facio did so, and his On the Excel-
lence of Man
(De excellentia hominis) appeared in
1448, dedicated to Pope Nicholas V, but making no
mention of Antonio da Barga. Facio's treatise follows
da Barga's quite closely, introducing, however, some
amplifications and variants, some of which were
borrowed from his own De vitae felicitate.

Facio's was promptly followed by Giannozzo
Manetti's much more elaborate, erudite, and laudatory
treatise, On the Dignity and Excellence of Man (De
dignitate et excellentia hominis libri IV
). Manetti was
apparently prompted by King Alfonso of Naples to
write the treatise because Facio had dedicated his to
Pope Nicholas V, and it was completed by late 1452
or early the next year in the version in which we have
received it in manuscript. However, the same Antonio
da Barga mentions in another work of his of 1449 that
Manetti had written a work De dignitate hominis ad
Anthonium Bargensem.
Thus da Barga, who was
certainly a friend of Manetti, may also have urged him
to write a now-lost earlier version.

Manetti retains all of the traditional religious
arguments for man's dignity to which he adds any that
he can draw from classical sources such as Cicero, On
the Nature of the Gods,
Aristotle's De anima and Ethics.
Moreover, he makes a number of assertions that are
quite clearly original. However, as in his other writings,
he tries to mask his own originality behind lengthy
citations. He also utilizes a far wider range of sources
than he admits to or cites directly, sources which he
possessed in his extensive library of Latin, Greek, and
Hebrew philosophical, theological, and exegetical
works which he read in all three languages. His back-
ground as a Florentine merchant, statesman, civic-
humanist, pupil, and follower of Ambrogio Traversari
(followed later after the composition of this work by
his role as advisor to both Nicholas V and King Alfonso)
undoubtedly helped to influence the much more
appreciative view of man's this-worldly dignity and
achievements which he incorporated into his theolog-
ical conception of the dignity of man. There is no
question that Manetti made explicit the new concep-
tion of man, which was already implicit in Petrarch,
Salutati, and Valla and which was supportable from
both Greek and Latin classical and patristic texts.
Manetti, of course, sought to project a new Christian
synthesis of these sources, and this determined the form
of his work.

Manetti's was not a profound work, but it was an
insistent and an impressive one for the completeness
of its arguments on behalf of the dignity of man and
for the fulness and almost lack of restraint in their
assertion. It was significant also as indicating that the
cultural environment, within which the Platonists'
views of the dignity of man were shortly to follow,
was already highly receptive to their ideas. Other
important humanist defenses of human greatness and
progress were also being produced, such as the
Bolognese humanist Benedetto Morandi's defense of
man against Giovanni Garzoni's repetition of the tra-
ditional view of human misery (in two works of
1468-70, De humana felicitate and Secunda reluctatio


contra calumniatorem naturae humanae) of especial
interest because of Morandi's clear projection of the
doctrine of progress under human guidance. Another
important defense of man came in the 1480's by
Aurelio Brandolini, an Italian humanist at the court
of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary (Dialogus de huma-
nae vitae conditione et toleranda corporis aegritudine

The theme of the dignity of man, which had thus
been given a definite literary form by the Italian
humanists, derived from and contained within itself
two divergent theological and philosophical positions.
Man's dignity lay in his creation in the image and
likeness of God, which could be interpreted as meaning
either that it was man's destiny to transcend the
limitations of his image-likeness and to ascend to
eventual deification by a progress toward perfect
assimilation of image and model, or that man thought,
felt, and acted in a godlike manner in his domination,
utilization, guidance, and reconstruction of the world
of sub-human nature. The first position was both Neo-
Platonist and Greek patristic in its provenance, the
second was more closely related to a loose syncretism
of Stoicism and Middle Platonism best expressed in
Roman rhetorical philosophizing but which also could
find some confirmation in a literal interpretation of
certain biblical passages.

The Italian humanist movement found it natural to
juxtapose the two positions contained in the traditional
treatments of the theme without necessarily providing
any logical or systematic reconciliation, and in fact
Augustine had wrought a theologically more integrated
reconciliation of the transcendental and immanent
elements in the theme which was a precedent and a
model for the humanists. This humanist juxtaposition
or merely rhetorical reconciliation was of great his-
torical significance for it provided a system of thinking
whereby sanction and justification could be offered to
a life of activism and worldly achievement which was
at the same time incorporated into traditional religious
values and goals. The humanists, prompted by the
needs of their contemporaries, sought and devised a
way to make the best of both worlds, as it were.

It was however, the revival of Platonism, which
occurred in Florence in the '70's, '80's, and '90's of
the Quattrocento and was widely disseminated from
there, that provided a philosophical and systematic
integration of these two motifs involved in the consid-
eration of the dignity of man. The principal author
of this new synthesis, which indeed pulled together
disparate elements within the biblical-Christian tradi-
tion as well as within the classical tradition and then
sought parallel elements in the two, was Marsilio
Ficino. Ficino, who had been set to work as a young
man translating the works of Plato by Cosimo de'
Medici, did not by any means produce what modern
philosophers could recognize as a pure and historically
accurate interpretation of Plato in his own philo-
sophical writings. He was, on the contrary, deeply
affected by a number of influences operating upon him.
One was the tradition of lay piety of which the
humanist writings on the dignity of man had been a
notable expression and within which Ficino, ordained
as a priest in 1473, had always actively participated.
Another was the humanist movement, itself, with its
zeal for the recovery of classical texts and monuments
to which Ficino's many important translations not only
of the corpus of Plato but of the principal Neo-Platonic
philosophers, the Hermetic Poimandres, the Orphic
and the Chaldaic Oracles made a major con-
tribution. A third was the Western Latin theological
tradition within which Augustine, of course, played a
leading role as a model of a Christian Platonist, but
which also influenced Ficino through his early scholas-
tic training and subsequent studies, so that he was very
well versed in the varying currents of Latin theology.
Moreover, though the influence of Aristotle had been
dominant in thirteenth-century scholastic theology and
continued to be within the Thomist tradition, this was
to a high degree permeated with the hierarchical ideas
of the Christian Neo-Platonist, the Pseudo-Dionysius,
as well as by those of the Arabic commentators. It was
not difficult to “Platonize” what was already so Neo-

That these were the dominant movements shaping
Ficino's thought is significant because from them the
impulse toward a reconciliation of the transcendental
and immanentist elements in the theme of the dignity
of man could be found, especially in Augustine and
the humanists. It is notable that, although he knew of
them, Ficino seems not to have been especially influ-
enced by the medieval Neo-Platonism of Chartres or
of his near-contemporary Nicholas of Cusa, or by con-
temporary Byzantine Platonic doctrines such as
Plethon's or Bessarion's. What he wrought was an
original synthesis of Christianity and ancient Platonism
and Neo-Platonism, but one that also definitely
reflected the Augustinian departures from Greek
patristic thought and the Renaissance humanists' stress
on the validity and importance of the this-worldly
dignity of man within the framework of his continuous
pursuit and ultimate achievement of immortality and
deification. But this was a fully articulated and unified
philosophy rather than merely rhetorical juxtaposition
as in the case of the humanists.

This position was manifested in two aspects of
Ficino's thought. One was the stress on the role of
reason in man, as a free faculty, not bound into any
of the traditional Plotinian determinist systems


projected by Ficino—providence to which man was
tied by his highest faculty of the intelligence, fate
operating through astral influences to which man was
tied by his faculty of imagination, and nature which
claimed man's senses and corporeality as a part. Thus
while man contained within himself and was
dynamically linked to all parts of the universe, was
its node and coupling, through reason and the cognate
will man could freely favor and resist any of these
levels of being. This meant that although man was part
of and had a place in the universal hierarchy, he could
also transcend it and escape from it and had a more
dignified role than any other created being, approach-
ing in freedom and creativity the state of divinity,

The second aspect of Ficino's thought which mani-
fested his position on the dignity of man was his stress
on man's natural appetite for immortality and deifica-
tion. This could be discovered in the character of man's
thought and actions which Ficino analyzed system-
atically into twelve characteristics of God which man
was driven by his will to make actual. In delineating
man's pursuit of these divine qualities, however, he
becomes certainly as eloquent as the humanists, if he
does not surpass them, in his depictions of the glories
of man's actions and ideas in all areas of this-worldly
experience. While it is true that Ficino also emphasizes
many magical and supernatural powers, with which
he believes man is endowed, this is not at the expense
of or in diminution of his deep appreciation of man's
secular this-worldly achievements as signs of man's
natural appetite to become God.

The entire striving in our soul is that it become God. Such
striving is no less natural to men than the effort to flight
is to birds. For it is always in men everywhere. Likewise
it is not a contingent quality of some men but follows the
nature itself of the species

(Theologica Platonica XIV, 1;
ed. Marcel, II, 247).

It may, thus, be argued that Ficino gave philo-
sophical and theological form and system to central
attitudes of the Renaissance humanist tradition, partic-
ularly to those associated with the theme of the dignity
of man. It may also be argued that this emphasis,
together with his pursuit of a universal theology and
anthropology to be found in all human traditions and
religions, pagan and Christian alike, constitute the
central themes of his philosophy. Both these themes,
the dignity of man in his pursuit of deification, and
the universality of all human traditions in this pursuit,
were also central to the development of Renaissance
culture. Ficino and the Renaissance Platonists, in other
words, do not represent a divergence from the major
historical impulses of the Renaissance toward a
contemplative otherworldliness, as it is frequently
claimed, but complete an intellectual response to a
basic need for a mode of reconciliation of the expand-
ing secular goals and activities of the men of the period
with their still fervently held religious piety and other-
worldly ends, a need which found expression and par-
tial fulfillment in the humanist treatises on the dignity
of man which preceded and accompanied the Platonist

The best known expression of the Renaissance theme
of the dignity of man occurs in Giovanni Pico della
Mirandola's Oration of 1486, introducing the theses he
offered for debate. Although Ficino preceded him in
projecting man's transcendence of the hierarchy by a
multi-level freedom which determined its being by its
operative choice (Ficino's Theologia Platonica was
published 1482, probably composed by 1474), Pico
gave the position a unique dramatic and rhetorical
sharpness and clarity, and followed it up by an even
wider-ranging pursuit of a universality of human striv-
ing for fulfillment in the historical, religious, magical,
and intellectual traditions known to him. It is signifi-
cant that the theme of the dignity of man had been
carried since antiquity in the form of an exegesis of
Genesis 1:26, for Pico's comments in his Oration are
applied to Adam and the mode of God's creation of
man, and he followed this in 1488-89 with his
Heptaplus, which is an extension of the traditional
Hexaemeron, or six days work, to the seventh which
includes the divine and human sabbatical. Pico presents
a Neo-Platonic cosmology and anthropology in this
work, but one that was notably modified by his knowl-
edge of the medieval Jewish magical tradition, itself
containing Neo-Platonic elements, the Cabala. To the
three worlds of nature, the planets, and the intelli-
gences, Pico adds the Cabalistic fourth world of man,
which is outside the others, yet utilizes them, is their
fulfillment. The deification and the dignity of man is
central to each of the six days work of creation and
is related in the sixth chapter to each of the seven
books, for man was created on the sixth day. Thus Pico
restores the theme of the dignity of man to the
hexameral tradition but renews this exegetical tradition
with new Cabalistic, Hermetic, Averroist, and Neo-
Platonic ideas.

A final reference may be made to the work of the
Augustinian preacher and theologian, Egidio da
Viterbo (Giles of Viterbo), general of his order, of great
influence in propagating Ficino's Christian Neo-
Platonism at the courts of Julius II and Leo X and at
the Lateran Council. His commentary on the Sentences
“ad mentem Platonis”
reverts to the scholastic argu-
ment as to whether the dignity of man exceeds that
of the angel. Egidio without hesitation projects man's


dignity as higher not only because of Christ's Incarna-
tion as man, but because of the dynamic freedom of
man's striving to become God, which contrasts with
the static, hierarchical fixity of the angels' position.

The idea of the dignity of man did not cease to find
exponents among both philosophers and writers in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Italy and else-
where. The influences of both Italian humanism and
Florentine Platonism were too potent for these char-
acteristic ideas and forms of discussion of man to be
lost. However, its subsequent history is beyond the
scope of this article. One observation only may be
permitted. Histories of single ideas or clusters of ideas
are difficult to delimit because they ordinarily embody
entire complexes of notions that are subject to greatly
varying interpretations in different philosophical and
literary schools and currents. Though the dignity of
man was not primarily an Aristotelian idea, it had its
Aristotelian supporters, and even such an austere
Stoic-Aristotelian as Pietro Pomponazzi felt compelled
to polemicize against it. But ultimately more important
than its involvement in the debates of Platonists and
Aristotelians was to be the impact of the Protestant
Reformation and Catholic Reform, on the one hand,
and of the emergence of the new science, on the other.
Both these sixteenth-century developments were to
drastically alter the conception of man and his place
in the universe and consequently the entire conception
of the dignity of man, though the Renaissance concept
of man itself had important implications for both these


Charles Trinkaus, “In Our Image and Likeness”: Human-
ity and Divinity in Italian Humanist Thought
(London and
Chicago, 1970), for principal texts discussed and bibliogra-
phy. See also the following works, and especially those by:
Cassirer, Garin, Gentile, Javelet, Kristeller, Ladner, Di
Napoli, Paparelli, and Yates. Javelet, Ladner (Idea of Re-
), and Landmann have important bibliographies.
Herschel Baker, The Image of Man: A Study of Human
Dignity in Classical Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the
(Cambridge., Mass., 1947; reprint New York,
1961). Ernst Cassirer, Individuum und Kosmos in der Philos-
ophie der Renaissance
(Leipzig and Berlin, 1927; trans.
New York, 1964); idem, “Giovanni Pico della Mirandola,”
Journal of the History of Ideas, 3 (1942), 123-44, 319-54;
reprinted in P. O. Kristeller and P. P. Wiener, eds., Renais-
sance Essays
(New York, 1968), 11-60. Ernst Cassirer, Paul
Oskar Kristeller, John Herman Randall, Jr., eds., The
Renaissance Philosophy of Man
(Chicago, 1948). Y. M. J.
Congar, “Le thème de Dieu-Créateur et les explications de
l'Hexaméron dans la tradition chrétienne,” in L'homme
devant Dieu: Mélanges offerts au Père Henri de Lubac
1963), pp. 189ff. B. Domanski, Die Psychologie des Nemesius,
Baeumaker Beiträge, III (Münster, 1900). Ludwig Edelstein,
The Idea of Progress in Classical Antiquity (Baltimore, 1967);
idem, “The Philosophical System of Posidonius,” American
Journal of Philology,
57 (1936), 286-325. A.-J. Festugière,
La révélation d'Hermès Trismégiste, 4 vols. (Paris, 1950-54).
Eugenio Garin, “La 'Dignitas Hominis' e la letteratura
patristica,” La Rinascita, I (1938), 102-46; idem, ed., Testi
umanistici sul “De anima”
(Pauda, 1951); idem, Giovanni
Pico della Mirandola
(Florence, 1937). Giovanni Gentile, “Il
concetto dell'uomo nel Rinascimento” (1916), reprinted in
idem, Il pensiero italiano del Rinascimento (Florence, 1940),
pp. 47-113. P. Gerlitz, “Der mystische Bildbegriff (εικω̇ν
und imago) in der frühchristlichen Geistesgeschichte,”
Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte, 15 (1963),
244ff. Karl Gronau, Poseidonios und die judisch-christliche
(Leipzig, 1914). J. Gross, La divinisation du
chrétien d'après les pères grecs
(Paris, 1938). Klaus Heit-
mann, Fortuna und Virtus, Eine Studie zu Petrarcas
(Cologne and Graz, 1958). Werner Jaeger,
Nemesius von Emesa, Quellenforschung zum Neuplato-
nismus und seinen Anfängen bei Poseidonios
(Berlin, 1914).
Robert Javelet, Image et ressemblance au douzième siècle
de saint Anselme à Alain de Lille,
2 vols. (Strasbourg, 1967).
J. Jervell, Imago Dei: Genesis 1:26 f. im Spätjudentum, in
der Gnosis und in den Paulinischen Briefen
1960). P. O. Kristeller, “Ficino and Pomponazzi on the Place
of Man in the Universe,” Journal of the History of Ideas,
5 (1944), 220-26, reprinted in Studies in Renaissance
Thought and Letters
(Rome, 1956), pp. 279-86; idem, “The
Philosophy of Man in the Italian Renaissance,” Italica, 24
(1947), 93-112, reprinted in Studies in Renaissance Thought
and Letters,
pp. 261-78; idem, The Philosophy of Marsilio
(New York, 1943), Italian trans., Il pensiero filosofico
di Marsilio Ficino
(Florence, 1953). Gerhart B. Ladner, “The
Concept of the Image in the Greek Fathers and the Byzan-
tine Iconoclastic Controversy,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 7
(1953), lff.; idem, Ad imaginem Dei: The Image of Man in
Medieval Art
(Latrobe, Pa., 1965); idem, “Homo Viator:
Medieval Ideas on Alienation and Order,” Speculum, 42
(1967), 233-59; idem, Idea of Reform (Cambridge, Mass.,
1959; rev. ed. New York, 1967), Chapters II, V; idem, “The
Philosophical Anthropology of St. Gregory of Nyssa,”
Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 12 (1958). Michael Landmann, et
al., DE HOMINE, Der Mensch im Spiegel seines Gedanken
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[See also Hermeticism; Hierarchy; Macrocosm and
Micrososm; Neo-Platonism; Platonism in the Renaissance;
Progress; 9">Renaissance Humanism; Stoicism.]