The Renaissance and Humanism Essay

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The Renaissance and Humanism

You may wonder about, "The Renaissance" and its relationship to another term, "humanism" which fits into the same time period. If you check the dictionary, you will find that both terms can be used in a broad sense or more specifically. Humanism refers generally to a "devotion to the humanities: literary culture." (My definitions come from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary). According to that definition we should all be humanists.

The other general meaning is the one that disturbs the fundamentalists who attack secular humanism: "a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's
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The more general meaning refers to any movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity.

To further confuse us we could ask ourselves how the Reformation and nationalism fit into the picture. Humanism, the Reformation and nationalism all appear as subheadings in your reading on the sixteenth century, but are not referred to in the introduction to the early seventeenth century (although humanism and nationalism existed at that time as well). I believe it is because the intial impact of humanism, the Reformation and nationalism was felt during the sixteenth century.

In the discussion of humanism on page 396, your text lists the educational goals of scholars who studied and taught the classics. They steeped themselves in Latin grammar and rhetoric; the latter was "a rigorous discipline in all the stylistic devices used by classical authors" (397). In other words, they taught classical literature for the same reasons that I use a College Writing text entitled From Idea to Essay with sample selections of literature. Those essays supposedly serve as models to help the freshmen write their six essays during the semester. Most literary scholars would rank the literature from the Renaissance as some of the best in the English language. If you believe that
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