Pico della Mirandola on Ancient Jewish Influence on Pythagoras -- Something Positive for a Change
So let's be positive. Rather than accuse Europeans of being always and irremediably Judeophobic, we find that 500 years ago, one of the original [in both senses] and pioneering minds of the Italian Renaissance, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, believed in the philosophic character of Judaism, that Moses was a philosopher [p 166], that Plato and Pythagoras reflected the teachings of Moses:
And the statement by the philosopher Numenios that Plato was nothing other than an Attic [= Athenian] Moses, is rather well known. Even Hermippos the Pythagorean attests that Pythagoras brought much from the law of Moses into his own philosophy.[Jean Pic de la Mirandole, Oeuvres Philosophiques (Paris: PUF, 1993), p 140]
. . . many things have been handed to us by the ancient Hebrews [p 182]
Pico studied Hebrew and Aramaic, as well as Greek, and was close to the ruler of Florence, Lorenzo the Magnificent, the Medici, who did so much to encourage the arts and sciences, and the intellectual progress of the Renaissance. The Heptaplus is in fact dedicated to Lorenzo de Medici and purports to be a commentary on the Seven Days of Creation. Pico lived from 1463 to 1494. Although born in Mirandola Castle in the Dukedom of Ferrara, Pico spent most of his life as a scholar in Florence. He wrote all or most of his works in Latin, and they have been translated into Italian, French, and perhaps English.
The statements by Numenios and Hermippos about Jewish influence on --or parallels in-- Plato and Pythagoras are found in the original Greek in Menahem Stern's compilation Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences). Plato and Pythagoras are among the most important classical philosophers. Pythagoras is known of course to high school geometry students as the inventor of the Pythagorean Theorem. Hermippos lived in the 3rd century BCE in Alexandria under the Ptolemies [Lagids], while Numenios lived in the 2nd century CE. Plato and Pythagoras are classic philosophers who need no introduction from me.
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Coming: More on Jews in Jerusalem, Islam and civilization, EU warmongering, peace follies, etc.