Who is Man?

4 April 2015
A paper which examines the philosophical question “Who is Man” and the viewpoints held by several classical writers and theologians as seen through their writings.

The paper examines the works of several classicists to determine their viewpoints on the philosophical issues of “Who is Man?” and “What is Man’s highest calling?. The paper shows the theories of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola in his Oration on the Dignity of Man, of Petrarch through his poetry, of Saint Augustine in his Confessions, of Teresa of Avila through her works, and of Shakespeare’s King Lear, who, although a fictional character, expresses the idea of royal power.
Saint Augustine in his Confessions asks if being in the world a man can obtain a higher plane of spiritual existence. He uses his own life as an example of his journey to God. Certainly Saint Augustine would agree with the writings of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Augustine lived a baser life for a long time until he came to his own version of spiritual truth. He explored various philosophical thought including skepticism before he embraced the faith of his mother Monica. He didn’t come into Catholicism easily but only after the deep internal thought and meditation that Giovanni Pico della Mirandola offers as the way to the higher spiritual plane.”
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