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Encyclopedia > Renaissance humanism

Renaissance humanism (often designated simply as humanism) was a European intellectual movement beginning in Florence in the last decades of the 14th century. Initially a humanist was simply a teacher of Latin literature. By the mid-fifteenth century humanism described a curriculum - the studia humanitatis - comprised of grammar, rhetoric, moral philosophy, poetry and history as studied via classical authors. It was only later in the twentieth-century that humanism was interpreted as a new philosophical outlook which encompassed human dignity and potential and the place of mankind in nature, since these were the kinds of themes on which humanists practiced their skills. The over-riding goal of humanists, who may be said to have valued the witnesses of reason and the evidence of the senses in reaching the truth over the Christian values of humility, introspection, and passivity, or "meekness" that had dominated European thought in the previous centuries, was to become eloquent in rhetoric. Beauty, a popular topic, was held to represent a deep inner virtue and value, and an essential element in the path towards God. The humanist movement developed from the rediscovery by European scholars of many Latin and Greek texts. For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... This article is about the city in Italy. ... This 14th-century statue from south India depicts the gods Shiva (on the left) and Uma (on the right). ... For other uses, see Reason (disambiguation). ... For the medieval saint of the same name, see Saint Humility. ... This article is about the psychological process of introspecting. ... Passivation is the process of making a material passive in relation to another material prior to using the materials together. ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ...

The humanists were in opposition to the philosophers of the day, the "schoolmen", or scholastics, of the Italian universities and later Oxford and Paris, whose methodology was derived from Thomas Aquinas, which revived a classical debate which referred back to Plato and the Platonic dialogues. Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P.(also Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino; c. ...



In the 1480s, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola wrote a preface to the nine hundred theses that he submitted for public debate entitled An Oration on the Dignity of Man. The debate never took place, but the work became a seminal text in the development of humanism. In it, he talked about how God created man and that man's greatness comes from God. He said that man was like a chameleon and could become whatever he wanted to be. Events March 6 - Treaty of Toledo - Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain recognize African conquests of Afonso of Portugal and he cedes the Canary Islands to Spain Great standing on the Ugra river - Muscovy becomes independent from the Golden Horde. ... Pico della Mirandola. ...

Humanists placed a heavy emphasis on the study of primary sources rather than the study of the interpretations of others. This is reflected in their motto of ad fontes, or "to the sources" which informed the search for texts in the monastery libraries of Europe. Humanist education, called the studia humanista or studia humanitatis (study of humanity), concentrated on the study of the liberal arts: Latin and Greek grammar, rhetoric, poetry, moral philosophy or ethics, and history. In historical scholarship, a primary source is a document, or other source of information that was created at or near the time being studied, by an authoritative source, usually one with direct personal knowledge of the events being described. ... In the history of education, the seven liberal arts comprise two groups of studies, the trivium and the quadrivium. ... For the rules of English grammar, see English grammar and Disputes in English grammar. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of oral or written language; however, this definition of rhetoric has expanded greatly since rhetoric emerged as a field of study in universities. ... This article is about the art form. ... For other uses, see Philosophy (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... History studies time in human terms. ...

Early 15th-century humanists were interested in classical Latin and not in medieval Latin, which was a different and more developed language with many neologisms. Petrarch, sometimes called the father of Renaissance humanism in Italy, called the Latin of the Middle Ages "barbarous,"; when he collected his "Familiar Letters" his model was Cicero and his model for Latin was that used by Virgil, who was emerging from the persona as a magus that had accrued in the Middle Ages. This new interest in the classical literature led to the scouring of monastic libraries across Europe for lost texts. One such hunt by Poggio Bracciolini, who was credited with the discovery of the complete works of fifteen different authors, turned up Vitruvius' work on art and architecture, allowing for the completion of the Duomo of Florence by Filippo Brunelleschi. Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages, primarily as a medium of scholarly exchange and as the liturgical language of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, but also as a language of science, literature, law, and administration. ... A neologism (Greek νεολογισμός [neologismos], from νέος [neos] new + λόγος [logos] word, speech, discourse + suffix -ισμός [-ismos] -ism) is a word, term, or phrase which has been recently created (coined) — often to apply to new concepts, to synthesize pre-existing concepts, or to make older terminology sound more contemporary. ... From the c. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... For other uses, see Cicero (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Virgil (disambiguation). ... Monastery of St. ... For other uses, see Library (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... This article or section should be merged with Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini Gianfrancesco (or Giovanni Francesco) Poggio Bracciolini (February 11, 1380 - October 10, 1459) was one of the most important Italian Renaissance humanists. ... Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born ca. ... The Duomo of Florence, Santa Maria del Fiore Front of Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore the Duomo Duomo is a generic Italian term for a cathedral church. ... Sculpture of Brunelleschi looking at the dome in Florence Filippo Brunelleschi (1377 – April 15, 1446) was an Italian architect, engineer and one of the first architects to be associated with the Italian Renaissance in Florence. ...

The central feature of humanism in this period was the commitment to the idea that the ancient world (defined effectively as ancient Greece and Rome, which included the entire Mediterranean basin) was the pinnacle of human achievement, especially intellectual achievement, and should be taken as a model by contemporary Europeans. According to this view of history, the fall of Rome to Germanic invaders, in the fifth century, had led to the dissolution and decline of this remarkable culture; the intellectual heritage of the ancient world had been lost—many of its most important books had been destroyed and dispersed—and a thousand years later, Europeans were still living in the ruins. The only way in which Europeans could expect to pull themselves out of this intellectual catastrophe was to attempt to recover, edit, and make available these lost texts, which included, among others, almost all the works of Plato. (In the process, Greek texts had to be translated into Latin, the language of intellectuals and the learned.) This enterprise, launched through the reintroduction of Greek to Italy by Manuel Chrysoloras, generated enormous enthusiasm, and the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were devoted to this project. Manuel (or Emmanuel) Chrysoloras (c. ...

Humanism offered the necessary intellectual and philological tools for the first dispassionate analysis of texts. An early triumph of textual criticism by Lorenzo Valla revealed the Donation of Constantine to be an early medieval forgery produced in the Curia. This textual criticism began to create real political controversy when Erasmus began to apply it to biblical texts, in his Novum Instrumentum. Carmina Cantabrigiensia, Manuscript C, folio 436v, 11th century Textual criticism or lower criticism is a branch of philology or bibliography that is concerned with the identification and removal of errors from texts and manuscripts. ... Lorenzo Valla Lorenzo (or Laurentius) Valla (c. ... A 13th C. fresco of Sylvester and Constantine, showing the purported Donation. ... Forgery is the process of making or adapting objects or documents (see false document), with the intention to deceive. ... A Curia in early Roman times was a subdivision of the people, i. ... Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (also Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam) (October 27, probably 1466 – July 12, 1536) was a Dutch humanist and theologian. ...

The crisis of Renaissance humanism came with the trial of Galileo which was centered on the choice between basing the authority of one's beliefs on one's observations, or upon religious teaching. The trial made the contradictions between humanism and traditional religion visibly apparent to all, and humanism was branded a "dangerous doctrine."[citation needed] Galileo can refer to: Galileo Galilei, astronomer, philosopher, and physicist (1564 - 1642) the Galileo spacecraft, a NASA space probe that visited Jupiter and its moons the Galileo positioning system Life of Galileo, a play by Bertolt Brecht Galileo (1975) - screen adaptation of the play Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht...

Social or civic humanism

Social or civic humanism rose out of the republican ideology of Florence at the beginning of the fifteenth century. It sought to create citizens capable of participating in the civic life of their community by placing central emphasis on human autonomy. Leonardo Bruni's Panegyric is one expression of this philosophy. The emancipated and literate upper bourgeoisie of the independent Italian communes adapted 14th-century Burgundian aristocratic culture and manners to an intensely patriotic civic life centered on extended families. Humanism was a pervasive cultural mode, not merely the product of a handful of geniuses, like Giotto or Leon Battista Alberti. Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, with an emphasis on liberty, rule by the people, and the civic virtue practiced by citizens. ... Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... This article is about the city in Italy. ... (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... Leonardo Bruni Leonardo Bruni (c. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The following is a list of the Dukes of Burgundy Richard of Autun, the Justicier (880–921) Rudolph of Burgundy (king of France from 923) (921–923) Hugh the Black (923–952) Gilbert of Chalon (952–956) Odo of Paris (956-965) Otto-Henry the Great... There are several things that have been named Giotto: Giotto di Bondone an Italian painter. ... Leone Battista Alberti (February 1404 - 25th April 1472), Italian painter, poet, linguist, philosopher, cryptographer, musician, architect, and general Renaissance polymath . ...


Renaissance humanists believed that the liberal arts (art, music, grammar, rhetoric, oratory, history, poetry, using classical texts, and the studies of all of the above) should be practiced by all levels of "richness". They also approved of self, human worth and individual dignity.

This worth is found in the humanist belief that everything in life has a determinate nature, but man's privilege is to be able to choose his own nature. Pico della Mirandola wrote the following concerning the creation of the universe and man's place in it:

But when the work was finished, the Craftsman kept wishing that there were someone to ponder the plan of so great a work, to love its beauty, and to wonder at its vastness. Therefore, when everything was done... He finally took thought concerning the creation of man... He therefore took man as a creature of indeterminate nature and, assigning him a place in the middle of the world, addressed him thus: "Neither a fixed abode nor a form that is thine alone nor any function peculiar to thyself have we given thee, Adam, to the end that according to thy longing and according to thy judgement thou mayest have and posses what abode, what form and what functions thou thyself shalt desire. The nature of all other beings is limited and constrained within the bounds of laws prescribed by Us. Thou, constrained by no limits, in accordance with thine own free will, in whose hand We have placed thee, shalt ordain for thyself the limits of thy nature. We have set thee at the world's center that thou mayest from thence more easily observe what is in the world. We have made thee neither of heaven nor of earth, neither mortal nor immortal, so that with freedom of choice and with honor, as though the maker and molder of thyself, thou mayest fashion thyself in whatever shape thou shalt prefer. Thou shalt have the power to degenerate into the lower forms of life, which are brutish. Thou shalt have the power, out of thy soul's judgement, to be born into the higher forms, which are divine." (Pico 224-225)

Humanists believe that such possibilities lead to the diverse ways of human development. Value is given to this uniqueness and encourages individualism. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Individualism is a term used to describe a moral, political, or social outlook that stresses human independence and the importance of individual self-reliance and liberty. ...

Relationship to Christianity

As Neo-Platonism replaced the Aristotelianism of Saint Thomas Aquinas, attempts were made to join the great works of Antiquity with Christian values in a syncretic Christian humanism, such as those by Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola. Ethics was taught independently of theology, and the authority of the Church was tacitly transferred to the reasoning logic of the educated individual. Thus humanists constantly skirted the dangers of being branded as heretics. Neoplatonism (also Neo-Platonism) is an ancient school of philosophy beginning in the 3rd century A.D. It was based on the teachings of Plato and Platonists; but it interpreted Plato in many new ways, such that Neoplatonism was quite different from what Plato taught, though not many Neoplatonists would... Aristotelianism is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. ... Saint Thomas Aquinas, O.P.(also Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino; c. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom and individualism are compatible with the practice of Christianity or intrinsic in its doctrine. ... Domenico Ghirlandaio. ... Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (February 24, 1463 – November 17, 1494) was an Italian Renaissance humanist philosopher and scholar. ... For other uses, see Ethics (disambiguation). ... Theology finds its scholars pursuing the understanding of and providing reasoned discourse of religion, spirituality and God or the gods. ... Look up Heresy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

One example of such pagan philosophy and Christian doctrine melding is found in The Epicurean, by Erasmus, the "prince of humanists:" Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based upon the teachings of Epicurus (c. ... Desiderius Erasmus in 1523 Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (also Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam) (October 27, probably 1466 – July 12, 1536) was a Dutch humanist and theologian. ...

If people who live agreeably are Epicureans, none are more truly Epicurean than the righteous and godly. And if it's names that bother us, no one better deserves the name of Epicurean than the revered founder and head of the Christian philosophy [Christ], for in Greek epikouros means "helper." He alone, when the law of Nature was all but blotted out by sins, when the law of Moses incited to lists rather than cured them, when Satan ruled in the world unchallenged, brought timely aid to perishing humanity. Completely mistaken, therefore, are those who talk in their foolish fashion about Christ's having been sad and gloomy in character and calling upon us to follow a dismal mode of life. On the contrary, he alone shows the most enjoyable life of all and the one most full of true pleasure. (Erasmus 549)

This quote exemplifies the way in which the humanists saw pagan classical works such as the philosophy of Epicurus as being fundamentally in harmony with Christianity, rather than as a nemesis to be pitted against Christianity. Although Renaissance humanists were more accepting of pagan philosophy than their Scholastic contemporaries, they did not necessarily object to the idea that Christian understanding should be dominant over other modes of thought. Some humanists were even churchmen, most notably Pope Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini Pius II. Pope Pius II. Pius II, né Enea Silvio Piccolomini, in Latin Aeneas Sylvius (October 18, 1405 - August 14, 1464) was pope from 1458 to 1464. ...


The careers of individual humanists throw light on the movement as a whole. See:

  • List of Byzantine scholars in the Renaissance

Rodolphus Agricola (February 17, 1444 – October 27, 1485), was a Dutch scholar and humanist. ... The Roman historian Tacitus, in his Germania, mentioned the Frisians among people he grouped together as the Ingvaeones. ... Pietro Alcionio, or Petrus Alcyonitus (ca. ... Frontispiece of De orbo novo Peter Martyr dAnghiera (in Italian, Pietro Martire Danghiera; in Spanish Pedro Mártir De Anghiera, Latin, Petrus Martyr Anglerius or ab Angleria) (February 2, 1457-October 1526) was an Italian-born historian of Spain and of the discoveries of her representatives during the... Categories: People stubs | 1492 births | 1556 deaths ... Statue of the poet in Reggio Emilia. ... Arnoldus Arlenius Peraxylus, (c. ... Simon Atumano was the Bishop of Gerace in Calabria from 23 June 1348 until 1366 and the Latin Archbishop of Thebes thereafter until 1380. ... This article or section should be merged with Hellenes Greeks in Ancient History In Latin literature, Græci (or Greeks, in English) is the name by which Hellenes are known. ... Pietro Bembo (May 20, 1470 - 18 January 1547), Italian cardinal and scholar. ... Flavio Biondo (Latin Flavius Blondus) (1392 – June 4, 1463) was an Italian Renaissance humanist historian. ... Giovanni Boccaccio (June 16, 1313 – December 21, 1375) was an Italian author and poet, a friend and correspondent of Petrarch, an important Renaissance humanist in his own right and author of a number of notable works including On Famous Women, the Decameron and his poetry in the vernacular. ... Herman Boerhaave (December 31, 1668 - September 23, 1738) was a Dutch humanist and physician of European fame. ... This article or section should be merged with Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini Gianfrancesco (or Giovanni Francesco) Poggio Bracciolini (February 11, 1380 - October 10, 1459) was one of the most important Italian Renaissance humanists. ... Ignazio (Ignace) Cardini (December 1566-1602) was a Corsican doctor, naturalist and humanist of Italian descent, born in Bastia, Corsica. ... Corsica (Corsican: Corsica, French: Corse) is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily, Sardinia, and Cyprus). ... Giovanni della Casa (28 June 1503 - 14 November 1556) was an Italian poet. ... i love orange pekoe tea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... Manuel (or Emmanuel) Chrysoloras (c. ... “Erasmus” redirects here. ... Vittorino da Feltre (1378 - 1446), Italian humanist and teacher, was born in Feltre. ... Domenico Ghirlandaio. ... Francesco Filelfo (July 25, 1398 - July 31, 1481), was an Italian Renaissance humanist. ... Pieter Gillis (1486 - 1533), also known by his latinised name Petrus Aegidius, was secretary for the city of Antwerp in the early sixteenth century. ... The term Flemings (Dutch: ) denotes the majority population in Flanders (the northern half of Belgium). ... Johannes Goropius Becanus (1519-1572), Dutch physician, linguist, and humanist. ... William Grocyn (1446?-1519) was an English scholar, a friend of Erasmus. ... This article is about the English as an ethnic group and nation. ... Geert Groote (1340 – 20 August 1384), otherwise Gerrit or Gerhard Groet, in Latin Gerardus Magnus,was a preacher and founder of the Brethren of the Common Life. ... Siegmund (Sigismund) Freiherr von Herberstein[1], (or Baron Sigismund von Herberstein), (August 23, 1486—March 28, 1566), Austrian diplomat, writer and historian. ... Stefano Infessura (Rome, ca 1435- ca 1500), an antipapal humanist lawyer is remembered through his Diary of the City of Rome, a gossipy chronicle of events at Rome. ... Justus Lipsius, Joost Lips or Josse Lips (October 18, 1547 — March 23, 1606), was a Flemish philologian and humanist. ... The term Flemings (Dutch: ) denotes the majority population in Flanders (the northern half of Belgium). ... Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (May 3, 1469 – June 21, 1527) was an Italian political philosopher, musician, poet, and romantic comedic playwright. ... Georgius Macropedius, portrait by Philips Galle, poem by Benito Arias Montanus. ... Melancthon, in a portrait engraved by Albrecht Dürer, 1526 Philipp Melanchthon (February 16, 1497 - April 19, 1560) was a German theologian and writer of the Protestant Reformation and an associate of Martin Luther. ... Pico della Mirandola. ... Michel Eyquem de Montaigne-Delecroix (IPA pronunciation: []) (February 28, 1533–September 13, 1592) was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. ... For the numerous educational institutions, see Thomas More College. ... This article is about the English as an ethnic group and nation. ... Niccolò de Niccoli (1364 - 1437) was an Italian Renaissance humanist. ... Niccolò Perotti, also Perotto or Nicolaus Perottus, (1429 - 1480) was an Italian humanist and author of the first modern Latin school grammar. ... From the c. ... François Rabelais François Rabelais (c. ... André de Resende (1498-1573), the father of archaeology in Portugal, began life as a Dominican friar, but about 1540 passed over to the ranks of the secular clergy. ... Johann Reuchlin (January 29, 1455 - 1522) was a German humanist and Hebrew scholar. ... Francesco Robortello (Francisus Robortellus, Udine 1516 – 1567) was a Renaissance humanist, nicknamed Canis grammaticus (the grammatical dog) for his confrontational and demanding manner, an editor of rediscovered works of Antiquity, who taught philosophy and rhetoric, ethics (following Aristotle) and Latin and Greek, roving through universities at Lucca, Pisa, Venice, Padua... Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406) was one of the most important political and cultural leaders of Renaissance Florence. ... Jacopo Sannazaro (1458 - April 27, 1530), Italian poet of the Renaissance, was born in 1458 at Naples of a noble family, said to have been of Spanish origin, which had its seat at San Nazaro near Pavia. ... Johannes Stöffler Johannes Stöffler (December 10, 1452 – February 16, 1531) was a German mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, priest, maker of astronomical instruments and professor at the University of Tübingen. ... Vergerios bust at Koper, Slowenia Pier (also: Pietro) Paolo Vergerio (1498-1565) was an Italian Reformer. ... Page from Book X of George of Trebizonds Commentary on the Almagest The migration of Byzantine-Greek scholars or Byzantine emigres from Byzantium during the decline of the Byzantine empire (1203-1453) and mainly after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 until the 16th century, is considered by modern...

See also

The Renaissance (French for rebirth, or Rinascimento in Italian), was a cultural movement in Italy (and in Europe in general) that began in the late Middle Ages, and spanned roughly the 14th through the 17th century. ... This does not cite any references or sources. ... Humanist Latin is a name given to the distinctive Latin style developed by the humanist movement during the European Renaissance in the fifteenth century. ... // Origins Humanistic studies were late in finding entrance into Germany. ... Scholasticism comes from the Latin word scholasticus, which means that [which] belongs to the school, and is the school of philosophy taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities circa 1100–1500. ... See also the specific life stance known as Humanism For the Renaissance liberal arts movement, see Renaissance humanism Humanism is a broad category of ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities...

External links and references

  • Melchert, Norman (2002). The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-19-517510-7. 
  • Erasmus, "The Epicurean," in Colloquies.
  • Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man, in Cassirer, Kristeller, and Randall, Renaissance Philosophy of Man.
  • Dictionary of the History of ideas: "Renaissance Humanism"
  • Catholic Encyclopedia article
  • Dictionary of the History of ideas: Renaissance Idea of the Dignity of Man"
  • Kreis, Steven: "Renaissance Humanism

  Results from FactBites:
Humanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2248 words)
Humanism is a broad category of active ethical philosophies that affirm the dignity and worth of all people, based on the ability to determine right and wrong by appeal to universal human qualities— particularly rationality, common history, experience, and belief.
Renaissance humanism was a broad movement that affected the social, cultural, literary and political landscapes of Europe.
Secular humanism is the branch of humanism that rejects theistic religious belief and the existence of a supernatural.
Renaissance humanism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1326 words)
Renaissance humanism was a European intellectual movement beginning in Florence in the last decades of the 14th century.
Its focus was on human dignity and potential and the place of mankind in nature; it valued the witnesses of reason and the evidence of the senses in reaching the truth over the Christian values of humility, introspection, and passivity, or "meekness" that had dominated European thought in the previous centuries.
The crisis of Renaissance humanism came with the trial of Galileo which was centered on the choice between basing the authority of one's beliefs on one's observations, or upon religious teaching.
  More results at FactBites »



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