Humanism

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Explain the ways in which Italian
Renaissance humanism transformed the
ideas about the individual’s role in
society.
In the beginning
there was…
…Humanism
Francesco Petrarch
(1304-1374)
“Father of Humanism”
secular views
Private scholar; not a
clergyman
Rekindles interest in
the ancient Greek and
Latin classics
Investigates info. from
source, not traditional
Renaissance Humanism
Curriculum based on Liberal studies: grammar,
poetry, rhetoric, history, politics, and moral
philosophy
Belief that study of the classics is path to virtuous
and balanced lifestyle and personality
Importance in human, not divine, matters
Information gathered from source, not traditional
Devoted majority of life to the discovery and
practice of the classics
Anti-”scholasticism”, which was the educational
curriculum of the medieval times.
Religion
Before Humanism
Catholicism
dominates people’s
lives
Criticism crushed
No “other religions”
hold any strength
Catholic Church
“monopolized”
religion in europe
Humanists on Religion
Criticize the Catholic Church about
mistakes, misinterpretations, and
corruption
Liberal knowledge was used to denounce
church often in literary works that circulated
Europe
Criticize the Church’s written sources, such
as the Vulgate, writings by the Church
Fathers, and many other important
religious documentation.
Lorenzo Valla (1406-1457)
Pope attempted to
assert lands from the
King of Naples
through the Donation
of Constantine
Used knowledge of
Latin to prove the
document was a
forgery by the Church
Demonstrated that
Latin expressions and
patterns varied with
time period
Desiderius Erasmus (14661536)
Wrote many anticlerical satires and
dialogues
Revised the Vulgate
Translated the New
Testament into Greek
and lay
Strong on church
reform, believed that
early bible and classic
study the best reform
Erasmus and the Reformation
Wrote mostly against the church and
its corruptness
Criticized the Catholic institution and
the turmoil, chaos, and selfish
corruption taking place within it
Although he was not a Lutheran and
denied being so, he wanted Catholic
reform, not its replacement
How this affected individuals
Catholic Church and her clergymen
became more “exposed” and lost
reverence
Loses a lot of influence in the general
populace’s daily life
Lutherans began to acquire more ground
Humanist works credited by later
reformations
Society
Before Humanism
People acted like children; there was very
little personal upkeep or manner
expectations
Women were excluded from many social
“gatherings”
Birth was the defining point for social
standing and status
Education and personal capability didn’t
exist within the social developments of
medieval society
Humanists on Society
Humanists believe one should uphold
personal manners and good-behavior
Many humanists published guides
and manuals for being a successful
courtier
Believe that education and universal
capability should contribute to social
success
Christine de Pisan
(1363-1434)
The Treasure of
the City of Ladies,
“Renaissance
woman’s survival
manual”
Spread humanism
to French courts
Helped to
incorporate women
more importantly
into courts
Baldassare Castiglione
Very influential in
Renaissance courts
Believed to be a
successful courtier;
polite, balanced,
skilled; by peers
The Book of the
Courtier, a guide to
proper etiquette and
manners in courts, as
well as perquisites for
being a “successful
courtier”
How this affected individuals
Transformed society from “barbaric”
to “civilized”
Women introduced to balance male
“manliness” with female “tenderness”
Personal qualifications play greater
role in status, giving initiate for
“bettering oneself”
Birth loses some substance
Preceded gentry, forerunners
Intellectual
Humanists on Intellect
Liberal arts introduced: grammar, poetry,
rhetoric, history, politics and moral philosophy
more practical, useful than scholasticism
Education offered to wide audience
Rekindled interest and influence of Greek and
Roman classics
Incorporated a necessity for literary truth,
original and “uncorrupted”
Desire to investigate info. at source creating
large collections of original manuscripts
Brought a greater purpose to learning: virtue and
balance in life through study of classics
Before Humanism
Educated men were clergymen
“Schools” were places to learn of God
and spreading his will
Educational curriculum was
scholasticism
Abstract and unpracticed; useless
Educational power was held by few,
allowing manipulation of lay peoples
How this affected individuals
No longer just clergymen
Humanism replaced scholasticism
New universities and humanist academies
offer greater education
As well as learning, students gain a greater
virtuous and balanced personality
With larger girth of education, powers less
able to use it to manipulate subjects
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