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In the Company of DemonsUnnatural Beings, Love, and Identity in the Italian Renaissance$
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Armando Maggi

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226501307

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226501291.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use (for details see http://www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 17 December 2017

To Read the Body of a Monster: Exegesis and Witchcraft in Strix by Giovan Francesco Pico della Mirandola

To Read the Body of a Monster: Exegesis and Witchcraft in Strix by Giovan Francesco Pico della Mirandola

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter One To Read the Body of a Monster: Exegesis and Witchcraft in Strix by Giovan Francesco Pico della Mirandola
Source:
In the Company of Demons
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226501291.003.0002

This chapter focuses on Giovan Francesco Pico della Mirandola's Strix sive de ludificatione daemonum. In this book, Pico describes the several differences between classical culture and Christian revelation as two opposite armies engaged in a ruthless war. Giovan Francesco stages these differences through a dramatic dialogue between two opposing intellectuals, Apistius (the “man without faith”) and Phronimus (the “prudent man”). Phronimus demonstrates to the skeptical Apistius that all of classical culture, the very foundation of Italian humanism, is based on Satan's intervention in the creation. Giovan Francesco Pico revisits the pillars of classical literature, philosophy, and historiography and “unveils” their inner diabolical nature and message. According to Pico, the Greek and Latin myths were nothing but metaphorical stories coming directly from Satan, and a half-human and half-bird called strix incarnates and reveals Satan's infectious presence in the creation.

Keywords:   Giovan Francesco Pico, classical culture, Christian revelation, Apistius, Phronimus, Italian humanism, strix

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