Renaissance Humanism: Descriptive Essay

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Renaissance Humanism

In the history of the world, many remarkable events have taken place that has led to a turnaround in the thoughts and general lives of the people. One of such period is renaissance humanism. Renaissance Humanism is the study of ancient Greek and Roman texts with the goal of promoting new norms and values in society. (Writers, 2019) Humanism was an optimistic philosophy that saw man as a rational and sentient being, which has the ability to think and decide for himself. The Humanism movement was first developed in response to the scholastic conventions during the 14th and early 15th century in Italy and later spread to the other parts of Europe which later came to be known as the Renaissance. The term Renaissance in a simple context means “rebirth.” During the Renaissance period, most humanists were religious wherein their concern was to purify and renew Christianity but their focus was not only on religion but also on what it is to be human. They believed in the importance of education and in promoting civic virtue that is enabling an individual to realize his or her full potential for the benefit of oneself and the others in the society they live in. Thus, the humanist main goal was to improve the lives of citizens and help their communities. In this context, this essay will basically highlight on the three major points is, firstly it will focus on the major points of the chosen topic and how it has been applied to contemporary events. Secondly, it will demonstrate how the ideas of Renaissance Humanism help individual development and how it is still relevant today and subsequently, it will discuss the critical evaluation.

Renaissance Humanists used ancient texts to promote a worldview based on logic and reason. Humanism was a major intellectual movement of the Renaissance which was responsible for the change in the medieval education system, emphasizing rational and racial thinking. The humanist believed that individual humans were capable of great accomplishments thereby, humanists tend to give more focus to individualism. Further Humanism promoted the idea that man was the center of his own universe, and people should embrace human achievements through education, classical art, and science. Additionally, during the contemporary world, they believed that human beings could be dramatically changed with education wherein the humanists of the renaissance created schools to teach their ideas and wrote various books on education. “Humanists reacted against the utilitarian approach to education, seeking to create a citizenry who were able to speak and write with eloquence and thus be able to engage the civic life of their communities.” (Lumen) Hence, Humanism played a major role in education during the Renaissance where it aimed to cultivate the moral and intellectual character of citizens. For instance, the contemporary period was filled with people who moved out of their social class, focused on drawing the best of their abilities and achieving their optimum achievements.

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While Humanism initially began as a predominantly literary movement, its influence quickly pervaded the general culture of the time, reviving classical Greek and Roman art forms and contributing to the development of the renaissance which is still prevalent, in the modern world. Today, the term humanism has come to signify a worldview that denies the existence or relevance of God, and indeed the seeds of the modern world were sown and grown in the Renaissance. This is because the Renaissance played a vital role in history, where everything improved and people’s opinions and ideas changed, explicitly that, a renaissance has brought in huge development and improvement not only in the individual’s life but also to the world at large. Evidently, the existence of various forms of innovative scientific ideas, creative art, architecture, music, and literature, are the results and inspirations drawn from the renaissance period. Additionally, “Humanism led to the creation of an international network of scholars linked by letters and books, the separation of church and politics, the critical examination of texts leading to the discovery of inaccuracies and even forgeries, and the creation of public libraries.” (Cartwright, 2020) In this sense that, Humanism has transformed education and rejuvenated the world of ideas and art with its discovery, promotion and adaptation of classical works. Although it seems rather odd that scholars took such an interest in ancient sources which might be considered outdated and irrelevant to contemporary society but for humanist thinkers, it was not fully in opposition to religion. Nonetheless, it did lead to the idea of a morally- autonomous individual, which in turn led to individualism.

Renaissance humanism in the present-day context is very much helpful in the process of a clear idea regarding individual development and the social appliance of any matter related to the day-to-day life of the common people. In this regard, Humanism can also be mentioned as the guiding light for acquiring views and ideas related to any social issue which helps in the process of opening new perspectives regarding the issues. Renaissance humanists also promoted the idea that citizens should be educated in the field such as, literature, history, poetry, and philosophy in order to allow them to participate in the social and political life of their society.

Renaissance humanism inspired those who followed and strictly implemented it. Humanism goes along with secularism in the sense that it makes human being the center of attention and not god. People started to engage in activities because they enjoyed them rather than in dedication to gods glory. The evolution of ideas in the renaissance era has led people to realize and contest for their entitled human rights. Had there been no radical changes, people’s beliefs and morals would have been corrupted by the influences of the church and religion’s restriction to explore beyond ordinary livelihood. Thus, the break-through of that stereotype was possible with the growing idea of the humanist movement which not only emphasized on the importance of knowledge but also on the potential education of the individual and civil responsibility.

In succinct, humanists give more attention to the belief that human needs and values are more important and impactful than religious norms. Moreover, it also provides information that an individual should create their own set of ethics. In doing so, people are educated about their individual rights and freedom. As a result, the humanist doesn’t completely oppose the idea of religion and church rather they emphasize more on the development of individualism. Furthermore, humanist proponents relied on the concept that education can enhance and dramatically change human beings in their everyday learning.

Reference

  1. Cartwright, M. (2020, November 04). Renaissance Humanism. Retrieved from World History: https://www.ancient.eu/Renaissance_Humanism/
  2. Lumen. (n.d.). Humanist Thought. Retrieved from Boundless World History: http://courses.lumenlearning..com/boundless-worldhistory/chapter/humanist-thought/
  3. Writers, H. C. (2019, 07 29). Renaissance Humanism. Retrieved from History Crunch(historycrunch.com): https://www.historycrunch.com/renaissance-humanism.html/
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