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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the origins of present-day understandings of humanism, the principal intellectual movement of the period 1350 to 1650, as they were shaped by major European thinkers of the twentieth century, and distinguishes nine themes or dimensions of humanism that characterize the movement, while exploring its relations with religion, philosophy, science, and the arts. It emphasizes the grounding of the humanist movement in the classical tradition, resulting in the development of a new curriculum, the studia humanitatis (‘studies of humanity’) that not only binds together the humanist community into a respublica litterarum (‘republic of letters’), but guides the intellectual formation of European elites into the nineteenth century. By restoring antiquity to their contemporary world, and interweaving it with enduring Christian and medieval traditions, the humanists lay the foundations of modern thought.

Keywords: Humanism, Renaissance, classical tradition, studia humanitatis, respublica litterarum

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