Sunday, January 9, 2011
Angels in Pico's Oration
Pico begins his discussion of the "Angel Comparison" in Oration with a biblical reference. David referred to man as "a little lower than the angels." Since he continues with more biblical references to characters who interacted with angels, it seems safe to say that for Pico the relationship of man to angel is a biblical problem. He sees Moses in a way that recalls Dionysius, as receiving and transmitting angelic knowledge. He points to the Kabbalistic tradition of Enoch becoming Metatron as a general example of men becoming angels, and describes Kabbalah as "angelic metaphysics."
Later when he gets past a celebration of the contemplative functions of the angels--drawn from Dionysius--he moves on to a celebration of philosophy and mystical theology, which is the earthly analog of these angelic functions. By the time he gets around to discussing magic he seems to have largely left the problem of angels behind. He doesn't discuss magic as an interaction with angels.