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Friday, March 16, 2018

Turin-Paris: The basics of Renaissance anthropology

In the passage below, Marino makes what we may consider a very obvious statement. But it was not so at that time, if the Catechism of the Council of Trent (published in 1566 under the supervision of Cardinal, then Saint, Carlo Borromeo), in commenting on the Lord's Prayer, had to stress that there is only one God for the rich and the poor, the nobility and the common people. And remarkably, Marino was addressing a group of noblemen, the Knights of the Order of St. Maurice, to whom he himself belonged. This belief in the biological unity of humankind also provides the reason why in the Renaissance there existed no "racism" in the strict sense -- although this did not prevent the Europeans from exploiting and massacring the other peoples. At the same time, and in the opposite direction, the author exalts the social and human evolution gained through the individual's efforts. That was the same principle on whose basis Giordano Bruno had fiercely attacked Martin Luther, presenting him as a promoter of passiveness (De servo arbitrio) and even identifying him with "The Beast" of the Book of Revelation.

Dicerie sacre, III. Il cielo, 36
After all (for the sake of truth), a human being is procreated by a human being, and the Earth, our common mother, gave a similar shape to all, so that we have nothing personal or special in ourselves except for what we make ourselves by living conveniently, differently from the ignoble mob. Nor did God form the bodies with different qualities; He did not create one soul nobler or more lordly than another, but we all are shoots out of the same tree, all streams out of the same spring, and no state on earth can be found that is so high (if we look at its first origin) so as to not draw its progresses from a low, weak source.