The Humanist Approach PP - Holy Spirit Catholic Schools

• Think of a time when you changed your mind about something.
• What caused your new way of thinking to come about?
• Were you influenced by other people, by things you saw or read, or by
some other factor?
• That’s what happened during the Renaissance.
• The Renaissance saw a new way of thinking take place across
an entire continent.
• This new way of thinking appears to have started in the northern Italian
city-states, where scholars and philosophers now Humanists looked back to
the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome.
• Rather than just the religious perspective on classical writing the
Renaissance saw educated people begin to look at them
• During the Renaissance, educated people began to look at
ancient works differently and not just from the Christian
• They admired the eloquent writing styles and became interested in their
ideas about society, politics, history and the arts.
• You could see the Renaissance worldview as a result of intercultural
contact with earlier civilizations
• Greek and Roman – “Classical Civilizations”
• Islamic Civilization which preserved on expanded on the knowledge of
civilization of India and the Far East.
• Humanist ideas spread mainly among the wealthy people in
• Reading and discussing ancient writers became a fad among the merchant
and business class.
The 10 Commandments
1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is
in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the
earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy
God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the
third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands
of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honour thy father and thy mother:
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife,
nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is
thy neighbour’s.
Ojibwa – “Code for Long Life and Wisdom”
• The 10 Commandments are an important code in the Christian
and Jewish religions and those values are also reflected in
• Compare the Code for Long Life and Wisdom with the Ten
• In what ways do both codes express similar values?
• How does modern day society enforce these values?
• Explain each quote.
• Do you think the views expressed by Juvenal, Plutarch and
Aristotle remain part of our society’s worldview? Explain.
Suggest ways each element of the Code for Long Life and Wisdom can be applied in
modern daily life.
Code for Long Life and Wisdom
Modern Daily Life
• Humanists believed people could shape their lives through their
own talents and efforts. They believed in the potential of the
individual. Humanists believed that:
• Human beings can use the power of reason, that it, thinking to find truth
for themselves.
• It is important for a person to have an open, curious, and questioning
• People can achieve great things through learning
• Individuals should be skilled in many different areas. They should develop
not just their minds but also their bodies and spirits.
• Which of the previous ideas about the individual do you think
are still part of the worldview of our society?
• Humanists began to see theirs as a glorious time, a
“renaissance,” when ideas and values of ancient times were
• Greek and Roman manuscripts were preserved in libraries in the Muslim
world and cathedral libraries throughout Europe.
• Petrarch and other humanists collected, translated and made copies of
these manuscripts .
• Humanists wanted to make the ideas in these ancient works available
to the widest possible readership. They thought that in order to be
truly cultured, a person should read good books and look at great
works of art.
• Name ten people you think affect thinking in our society today?
• What means do they use to get their message across?
• Renaissance humanists were often the intellectual leaders of
their communities.
• There were humanist scholars, philosophers, teacher, public officials,
writers, scientists, architects, artists and musicians.
• Some had important positions in the government and church and therefore
were able to affect many aspects of Renaissance society.
• Civic humanists believed that being a responsible citizen meant
educating yourself about history and political issues and
working to improve society.
• Cicero’s idea that public service was the duty of everyone in society was
very influential.
• Why is being an informed citizen important?
• One of the most important ways humanists influenced
Renaissance society was in the emphasis they put on education.
• Many humanists were dedicated teachers who ran their own schools
• They believed it was important to train young people’s character and
bodies as well as the mind.
• They also encouraged a curious, questioning attitude in their students
• Humanists added to the traditional subjects studied during the Middle
• The classical text that were admired and studied by
Renaissance scholars were written before the beginnings of
• Renaissance thinkers emphasized ideas and values such as individual
achievement and the importance of history and the arts.
• Religion continued to play an important role but not to the degree it did
during the Middle Ages.
• Many public institutions are named for the people who made
donations to them.
• What do you think of think of this policy?
• In Judaism, Christianity and Islam, anonymous charity is considered
superior to charity in which the donor is identified. What are your views
about this idea?
• Renaissance artists became interested in portraying the beauty
of the human body.
• In the Middle Ages most art had religious themes and while this
continued through the Renaissance, humanist artists began to
interpret these subjects in new ways.
• In the Middle Ages sculptors were not seen as artists but rather
as craftspeople. Sculptors like Michelangelo became celebrities
with international reputations during the Renaissance.
• In the early Renaissance, writers focused on translating the
works of Roman and Greek writers and copying their styles.
• Humanism influenced writers to focus on expressing their thoughts and
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