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Probably the most widely accepted definition of humanism is that it was the broad educational, literary, and cultural movement involving the —grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, and moral philosophy, based on the standard ancient authors in Latin and, to a lesser extent, Greek. Humanistic studies generated a greater emphasis on man, a tendency toward concrete self expression, a fundamental classicism, and efforts to revive or restate the philosophical and other views of ancient writers by those who studied the humanities. Hence, a humanist was a scholar, teacher, or student of the humanities based on the classics. This is the definition proposed by Paul Oskar Kristeller (b. 1905–d. 1999), first articulated in 1945 and repeated and developed in many books and articles since. and offer synoptic treatments of his understanding of humanism, while provides many concrete examples of his scholarship on particular topics. and assess Kristeller’s overall contribution to Renaissance studies.

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Grendler, Paul F. “Georg Voigt: Historian of Humanism.” In Humanism and Creativity in the Renaissance: Essays in Honor of Ronald G. Witt. Edited by Christopher S. Celenza and Kenneth Gouwens, 295–325. Leiden, The Netherlands, and Boston: Brill, 2006.

Renaissance: Rebirth of Humanism Essay Sample

In contrast with Paul Oskar Kristeller (see ), Eugenio Garin (b. 1909–d. 2004), professor of the history of philosophy at the University of Florence and the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, argued that humanism was a broad philosophy of life. Humanism included a positive evaluation of civic and worldly values, the primacy of the will, the dignity of man, Platonism, a sense of historical anachronism, and a new investigation of nature. In Garin’s view, humanism profoundly influenced all aspects of Renaissance thought and action, and he strongly emphasized the differences between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Garin’s scholarship on humanism has had enormous influence on Italian and European scholars, but less on North American scholars. provides his only comprehensive treatment of humanism, while , , and translate some of Garin’s elegant essays on various topics and individuals.

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