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Lecture

Renaissance Humanism


Department
History
Course Code
HIS243H1
Professor
Nicholas Terpstra

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Early Modern Europe Thurs. Sept 30
Renaissance Humanism
1) Humanist Disciplines & Values
2) Humanists - Male & Female
Humanists start writing in the 14th, 15th and 16th years primarily.
humanbism now is taking to be more exclusively human - in distinction
from or opposition from religion. In the Renaissance they did not make that
distinction - it was about studying human life and human values.
It was about studying what it is to be human; it was not an organized
philosophy, but a group of thinkers, pursuing the same things.
Main disciplines; literature - poetry/epics/etc , history, rhetoric - to
speak and write persuasively, moral philosophy, grammar
Studia humanitatis - the term they would use to refer to the above
studies (history and philosophy the most important) - studied in latin through
reading ancient text.
To look at human creative expression, in history, but for the purpose of
becoming a more learned individual who could go out into a public
environment and speak persuasively. Their "textbooks" are the classics -
Cicero, Ovid, Livy, Horace, Caesar etc.
Particularly the Roman example, and secondarily the Greek.
What are the values they were trying to get out of these disciplines?
human dignity - humanity has a privileged place in the universe;
the very reason why humanity is valued it because it is created by god.
Understood human fragility and failings, but also great human creative
capacity. During this period we find more people taking credit for
what they have done - more signatures, less anonymous work, more
art focused on the human form. Scale of being: God at the top (pure
spirit/intellect), stone at the bottom (pure matter) with man in the
middle because it is if part of each, with angels above man. However
you could be higher or lower within this scale by edifying yourself
(via liberal arts) and following your mind or could sink lower by
following and developing your physical side (your appetites).
Human experience - valuable as a path to truth. At this time
people thought human experience was untrustworthy because it was so
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