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The Oration on the Dignity of Man was written in 1486 by the then 23-year-old Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, as an introduction to a public debate he was planning to host in Rome the following year, to discuss with the scholars of his day and the leaders of the Catholic Church (who had near absolute power at the time) 900 theses of his own, on what he considered to be the most important questions concerning the universe, theology and human existence.
Pico was never able to hold his Oration: the Church stepped in to prevent it from happening and persecuted him for heresy on several of his theses. But in spite (to a significant extent also because) of this, it is now considered a ‘Manifesto for the Renaissance’ and one of the most influential texts ever published, setting the tone for humanism, defending the right to practise philosophy and the liberal arts, and boldly, uniquely, celebrating human freedom at the centre of creation.
This new edition gives the full text as it was read by Sebastian Michael to a live audience at TU (Technical University) Vienna on 7th December 2017, together with a short introduction.
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