Free Essays On Humanism

Humanism Essay example

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Humanism was a new way of thinking that came about in fourteenth century, the time of the Renaissance. Many scholars refer to it as the "Spirit of the Renaissance." Humanism was a lay phenomenon that emphasized human beings - as opposed to deities - as well as their interests, achievements and capabilities. Humanism is derived from the Latin word humanitas, which Cicero, the noted orator of the Roman Empire, referred to as the "literary culture needed by anyone who would be considered educated and civilized."

Humanism and Literature

Humanists searched for wisdom from the past. They copied the lifestyles of the ancient Greeks and Romans. They also traced their families back to the days of the ancient Romans.…show more content…

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola wrote an essay entitled Oration on the Dignity of Man, in which he said that the reason for man's dignity is that he was created in God's image. He said that man's place in the universe is between the beasts and the angels, but because of his divine image, he can choose his fate and there are no limits to what he can accomplish.

Another literary humanist of the renaissance was Erasmus, who wrote The Shipwreck. Erasmus was a satirist who, in The Shipwreck, made fun of the way people practiced their religions. He showed how some people were hypocritical, they say one thing but practice something else. He also made fun of people who made extravagant offerings to many saints and gods alike.

Humanism and Art

In history, art has often been used by the church to educate the illiterate. The church invested money to decorate its churches and cathedrals with art depicting scenes from the Bible. Even if not commissioned by the church, artists often chose to depict Biblical scenes. As humanism became more widespread in Europe, however, art steadily became more secular. As classical texts brought about a deeper understanding of the ancient cultures, classical themes such as pagan gods appeared more often in art. Religious art, however, never disappeared. Artists depicted scenes differently. For example, medieval artists' depiction of Genesis showed the fall from grace of Adam and Eve, whereas Renaissance artists

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