Renaissance Humanism had a liberal beginning in 1350 and was in its full form in 1450. This remained for 150 years. Renaissance humanists wanted to draw attention to the fact that how important human existence and humans are. Although they never said that humans are above god but they always said that humans are unique and reach anywhere. They consider the fact that “humans” are the most important subject to study and believed that humans should be competitive enough to study themselves. Petrarch and Ficino are some of the important humanists. Although they never called themselves humanists, the term came very later. They were all subconsciously a group.
It is a great confusion by people who consider Renaissance humanists as atheists. This is mainly because the later humanists are atheist. But in fact, many of them were Christian humanists who have focused their work on the Bible. Renaissance Humanists talks about a discipline which is exclusively focused on the man. They were not obsessed with this topic but they believed that it was important.
Renaissance humanists were against Scholasticism (many were not) and metaphysics. At those times the philosophy practice was more into practical’s instead of the real form. They were against a major Philosopher I.e. Aristotle. His work of metaphysics was not appreciated by Renaissance Humanists. They believed that these methods would take away the richness of Philosophy. It included Subjects which sidelined humanism like Physics, Logic, How to Argument, Substance, Studies of Absolute God, Pragmatism
Humanists wanted a complete revival of Greek learnings like of Plato and Platonism; Plotinus and Neoplatonism. Aristotle’s revival of Poetry, Rhetoric but without any logic. They wanted the bible to read as a part of history.
Humanists viewed Greek as the highest point of Culture. They believed that we should relive and re believe in Greek culture. Even half of the Bible is written in Greek. Greek and Roman Culture appealed them because of the art, Old Culture of Europe. Moreover, Greek Culture was more liberal and open to homosexuality.
They really admired Socrates and were into his philosophy because he never hologised man and in fact showed his limits i.e. -
“man must know the extent of his ignorance “
Plato even got their attention as he showed how much humans can go about humility. He was not dormantic. Plato said that he will help people to know the truth but they have to see it on their own. He was the kind of person who would agree with a person’s point of view and then gradually make him believe his point of view by telling more things. This results in eventually proving their point wrong. Even Socrates agreed with Plato because of his humility. Plato believed that no one can teach anyone but his aim is to know the truth. Socrates and Plato could be called great humanists.
Christian Humanism talks about human happiness as essential and relates it to the teaching of Jesus Humanists related to the Christian Doctrine as God, in the form of Jesus Christ became human in order to redeem humanity. Many such ideas emerged among the Patristics and developed in Christian humanism in late 15th Century by the ideas of “common humanity “, Universal reason, Freedom, Personhood, human rights, human Emancipation and progress and the very notion of secularity. These all are unthinkable without Christian Humanistic roots.
This originated with Jakob Wimpfeling, John Colet and Thomas More. these scholars aimed towards reforming the Church and reviving Spiritual life through humanist education.
Humanism is read by the “chain of Being “God is considered the head of everything and then there is the smallest matter, everything is connected to each other. this is how we view the world. Everything is hierarchically connected and has a purpose.
This Chain starts with god and Progresses downwards to angels, demons, stars, moons, kings, princes, nobles, commons, wild animals, domesticated animals, trees, other plants. precious stones, precious metals and other minerals.
This concept was derived by Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus and Proclus. this further developed during medieval philosophy. the man sits somewhere in the middle, he shares the vegetative life and imagination above order. The desires of the flesh (man is mortal flesh) move away from God. Humanists talked about the middle situation of God.
Humanism began through Italy. Italy had a very famous humanist - Petrarch. Petrarch is very influential in English Plays. He read texts and encouraged for its historical purpose. He believed that philosophy should be concerned at the practical ground. He took efforts for making texts available and on their printing and translation.
Ficino opened New Academy in 1453. The first type of such university was opened by Plato. His work was thoroughly dedicated to Greek and Christian readings and culture. He said that Plato and Christ are one thing. Moreover, he believed that Greeks compliment Christianity. His ideas were interested in Scholasticism. He emphasized the learning of Hebrew and Arabic.
According to Erasmus Bible should be read Historically and by the philosophical method. He worked in Primitive theology. He was counted as a Christian humanist. He believed that Christ was God who came as a human to suffer for our sins and give us new direction.
Pico proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, Philosophy, Natural Philosophy, and magic against all comers. He also wrote the Oration on the Dignity of Man for the same purpose. His work is recognised as “Manifesto of the Renaissance. “
Studying the age of renaissance is important if you are graduating in the field of Philosophy, Literature, History or any other humanitarian field. This is because the age of renaissance is a fascinating time where many different types of innovations and discoveries took place. Even today when we look back at the art, literature and innovations of this time period we get astonished by the level of creativity and genius brains at that time. The renaissance period is thus very engaging and gives various types of approach and lessons even today.
Although the age of the Renaissance is historical it sharply connects the past and the future. The best type of civilizations is found in the age of the Renaissance. Renaissance is also called the Age of Enlightenment, The Industrial Revolution and the Scientific Revolution (developed a little later). Renaissance is the gateway towards the modern world.
Now this age has the humanists, who were suffering and struggling for the importance of humans. This makes the age very important. This because before this Pope and Church was everything. Renaissance Humanism is one of the reasons which led to further Protestantism. This is because Humanists were the people who showed the importance of man in the world. Thus it is important for humanities students to know how the world took a step forward. Moreover, one must remember that nothing happens overnight. It was not just Henry VIII who announced the Papal Schism but it was the humanists who were fighting and struggling for human significance.
A literature student must know the background before studying Renaissance authors, Playwrights. If you love reading Shakespeare and Marlowe than you must know what influenced their writing in this way. Moreover, Philosophical students should learn about the teachings of Renaissance Humanists because the main core is set on philosophy. Other than this History student should also study Renaissance Humanists while studying the age of Renaissance. Every philosopher and every humanist are important from the Renaissance age.
It is difficult to write an academic paper on Renaissance age because it has many discoveries and innovations. Other than this there were people who were writing different sets and levels of things which were inspired and had believed all different. There were historians and philosophers ( humanists ) who were working differently on different beliefs. Also, the ruling system and everything was changing a lot. The age was very confusing and one cannot get through the age and everything important in one go. Because almost everything is important and everything needs to be studied with close attention. This makes writing academic work on it a lot difficult.
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