Renaissance Humanism is the modern term for a powerful spiritual flow in the Renaissance period, which was first inspired by Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374). It had a prominent center in Florence and spread throughout most of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Humanism outside of Italy
Humanism spread from Italy throughout Europe. Many foreign scholars and students went to Italy for educational purposes and then contributed the humanist ideas to their home countries. The book printing and the lively international correspondence of the humanists among themselves played a very important role in the spread of the new ideas. The intensive correspondence promoted the community consciousness of the humanist scholars. The Councils (Council of Constance 1414-1418, Council of Basel/Ferrara / Florence 1431-1445), which led to diverse international encounters, favored the triumph of humanism.
The receptiveness to the new ideas was very different in the individual countries. This was demonstrated by the different speed and intensity of the reception of humanistic impulses and also by the fact that in some regions of Europe only certain parts and aspects of humanistic thought and attitude to life resonated. In some places, the resistance of conservative, church-oriented circles was strong. Also different were the sections of the population which were considered as carriers of a humanistic movement in the individual countries. Thus, humanism had to adapt to regional circumstances and needs and overcome country-specific resistance. Occasionally, humanistic historiography and historical research combined with national aspirations in individual countries.
While modern depictions of Italian Renaissance humanism can only be traced back to the first half of the sixteenth century, research north of the Alps shows continuity up to the early seventeenth century. In German-speaking research, the term “late humanism” has come to be used for Central European educational and cultural history in the period between about 1550 and about 1620. The temporal demarcation of late humanism and its independence as an era are controversial.
German-speaking area and Netherlands
In German-speaking countries, humanistic studies spread from the middle of the 15th century, with the model of the Italians prevailing everywhere. The literary aspirations of the humanists north of the Alps were based on the Italian patterns that were imitated. A key role played by the Italian humanist Enea Silvio de ‘Piccolomini, who prior to his election as Pope from 1443 to 1455 as a diplomat and secretary of King Frederick III. worked in Vienna. He became the leading figure of the humanist movement in Central Europe. His influence extended to Germany, Bohemia and Switzerland. In Germany, he was considered a stylistic role model and was until the late 15th century, the most influential humanist writer.
In the initial phase, the courts and chancelleries were primarily the centers of humanism north of the Alps. A significant contribution to its expansion was made by Germans who had studied in Italy and from there brought along ancient and humanist Latin texts and spread them in the German-speaking world. An example of this appropriation of educational content in the text collection of Thomas Pirckheimer. In letters and speeches the German humanists cultivated their new style of communication.
A popular theme of humanist speeches was the German praise, the appreciation of virtues typical of German: loyalty, bravery, steadfastness, piety and simplicity (simplicitas in the sense of impudence, naturalness). These qualities were initially attributed to the Germans by Italian scholars who resorted to ancient topoi. From the middle of the 15th century they were adopted by German university speakers as a self-assessment, in the subsequent period they shaped the humanistic discourse on a German identity. The humanists emphasized the German possession of the empire (imperium) and thus the priority in Europe. They claimed that the nobility was of German origin and that the Germans were morally superior to Italians and Frenchmen. The German spirit of invention was also praised. One referred to the invention of the art of printing, which was considered German collective achievement. Theoretically, the claim to national superiority encompassed all Germans, but in concrete terms the humanists only considered the educational elite.
At the German universities, German and Italian “migrant humanists”, including the pioneer Peter Luder. The confrontation with the scholastic tradition opposed by the humanists as “barbaric” was tougher and tougher than in Italy, since scholasticism was strongly rooted in the universities and its defenders were only slowly retreating. There were a variety of conflicts that led to the emergence of a rich polemical literature. Their climax reached these arguments with the polemic to the publication of the satirical ” dark man letters “, which served the mockery of the anti-humanists and from 1515 caused a great sensation.
In Germany and the Netherlands were the first outstanding representatives of an independent humanism, emancipated from the Italian role models, Rudolf Agricola († 1485) and Konrad Celtis († 1508). Celtis was the first significant Neo-Latin poet in Germany. He was at the center of a wide network of contacts and friendships that he created on his long journeys and maintained by correspondence. His project of the Germania illustrata, a geographical, historiographical and ethnological description of Germany, remained unfinished, but the preliminary studies had an intense aftereffect. By founding scholar communities (sodalitates) In a number of cities he strengthened the cohesion of the humanists. The 1486 elected German King Maximilian I. promoted the humanist movement as a patron emphatically and found among the humanists devotees journalistically supported him in pursuing its policy objectives. In Vienna in 1501 Maximilian founded a humanistic poetry college with Celtis as director; it belonged to the university and had four teachers (for poetics, rhetoric, mathematics and astronomy). The graduation was not a traditional academic degree, but a poetry coronation.
In France, Petrarch spent much of his life. His polemic against French culture, which he considered inferior, provoked vehement protest from French scholars. Petrarca stated that there are no speakers and poets outside of Italy – especially in France – so there is no education in the humanistic sense. In fact, humanism in France did not take root until the late 14th century. An outstanding pioneer was Nicholas of Clamanges († 1437), from 1381 at the Collège de NavarreTaught rhetoric and won great fame. He was the only major stylist of his time in France. In his later years, however, he distanced himself from humanism. More sustainably, his contemporary Jean de Montreuil (1354-1418) internalized the humanist ideals.
The turmoil of the Hundred Years War hampered the development of humanism; after the end of the fighting it flourished from the middle of the 15th century. The main contribution was made first by the rhetoric teacher Guillaume Fichet, who set up the first printing works in Paris and 1471 published a rhetoric textbook. Fichet’s pupil Robert Gaguin († 1501) continued the work of his teacher and replaced him as a leading head of Parisian humanism. Many Italian humanists, who were temporarily in Paris, gave substantial impulses. Janos Laskaris († 1534), a Greek humanist, introduced in France the neo-Platonist-oriented current of Italian humanism and taught the French humanists Greek.
In England, approaches to pre-humanistic thinking in the milieu of the Franciscans were already apparent in the early 14th century. The real humanism was introduced only in the 15th century. Initially influenced both French and Italian, Burgundian-Dutch influence in the late 15th century. An important patron of humanism was Duke Humphrey of Gloucester (1390-1447). In the early 16th century Erasmus for superior pulse.
Throughout the fifteenth century, at the universities, humanistic thought gradually prevailed over the scholastic tradition, partly thanks to the fierce resistance of conservative circles, thanks also to the teaching of Italian humanists. At the same time, numerous non-church educational institutions (colleges, grammar schools) were founded, which competed with the old church schools. Towards the end of the century and after the turn of the century, there was a marked upsurge in the humanistic education system. Among the leading figures was the scholar John Colet (1467-1519), a friend of Erasmus, who had studied in Italy and emerged as the founder of the school. The also trained in Italy royal court physicianThomas Linacre († 1524) spread among his colleagues the knowledge of ancient medical literature. Linacre’s friend William Grocyn († 1519) brought Bible humanism to England. The most famous representative of English humanism was the statesman and writer Thomas More († 1535), who worked as a royal secretary and diplomat and took over 1529 as Lord Chancellor a leading position. Morus’ student Thomas Elyot published in 1531 the state-theoretical and moral-philosophical writing The boke Named the Governour. In it he set forth humanistic principles of education, which contributed significantly to the education of the gentleman ideal in the 16th century.
In the Iberian Peninsula, the social and educational prerequisites for the development of humanism were much less favorable than in France and Central Europe. Therefore humanism could only gain a relatively modest validity there.
Although there were occasional conflicts between humanists and scholastic theologians in the fifteenth century, their importance in the Iberian area remained limited at first, as Spanish humanism was still too weak to challenge the scholastic conceptions. A change occurred when Antonio de Nebrija came back from Italy in 1470 and began to teach at the University of Salamanca in 1473. He wanted to restore the pure Latin of classical Roman antiquity. His intention of language cleansing involved the Bible text. This brought the Grand Inquisitor Diego de Deza on the scene; 1505/1506 Nebrija’s writings were confiscated, but in Cardinal Gonzalo Jiménez de Cisneroshe found a protector.
In Catalonia, the political link with southern Italy, created as a result of the expansionist policies of the Crown of Aragon, facilitated the influx of humanist ideas, but there was no widespread reception. The translation of ancient literature into the vernacular began in the 14th century. Juan Fernández de Heredia († 1396) caused transmissions of works of important Greek authors (Thucydides, Plutarch) in the Aragonese. Among the ancient Latin writings, which were translated into Spanish, were moral-philosophical works in the foreground; especially Seneca was widely adopted. In the Kingdom of CastileThe poets Juan de Mena († 1456) and Iñigo López de Mendoza († 1458) founded a Castilian poetry based on the model of the Italian humanist poetry and became classics.
At the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, when the Catholic Monarchs ruled, humanism experienced a (relative) heyday. The most important Spanish humanist at that time was the trained in Italy rhetoric professor Elio Antonio de Nebrija († 1522), who advanced with his 1481 published textbook Introductiones Latinae the humanistic reform of Latin lessons, created a Latin-Spanish and Spanish-Latin dictionary and 1492 the first Grammar of the Castilian language published. 1508 was set up at the new, founded in 1499 University of Alcalá a trilingual college (for Latin, Greek and Hebrew).
Hungary and Croatia
In Hungary early on there were individual contacts with Italian humanism. The contacts were favored by the fact that in the 14th century the house of Anjou, ruling in the Kingdom of Naples, also held the Hungarian throne for a long time, resulting in close relations with Italy.
Under King Sigismund (1387-1437) foreign humanists were diplomats in the Hungarian capital Buda. A key role in the emergence of Hungarian humanism played the Italian humanist Pietro Paolo Vergerio († 1444), who lived long in Buda. His most important pupil was the Croatian Johann Vitez (János Vitéz de Zredna, † 1472), who developed an extensive philological and literary activity and contributed much to the flourishing of Hungarian humanism. Vitez’s nephew Janus Pannonius († 1472) was a famous humanist poet.
Vitez was one of the tutors of King Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490), who became the foremost patron of humanism in Hungary. The king surrounded himself with Italian and native humanists and founded the famous Bibliotheca Corviniana, one of the largest libraries of the Renaissance.
In the 16th century, John Sylvester was one of the most prominent humanists in Hungary. He was part of the flow that was based on Erasmus. His works include a Hungarian translation of the New Testament and the Grammatica Hungaro-Latina (“Hungarian-Latin Grammar”), the first grammar of the Hungarian language.
In Poland, humanist activity began in the 15th century. In 1406, the first Polish rhetoric chair was established at the University of Krakow. From the 1430s, works by Italian humanists found a growing readership, around the middle of the century began the native poetic production in Latin. A prominent representative of Polish humanist historiography was Jan Długosz (1415-1480). Around the middle of the fifteenth century, the humanistic education program prevailed at the University of Krakow, but the scholastic tradition was still strongly felt in the sixteenth century as an opposing force.
In 1470, the Italian humanist Filippo Buonaccorsi (Latin Callimachus Experiens), who was suspected of conspiring against the pope in Rome, fled to Poland. His arrival ushered in a new phase in the development of Polish humanism. As a statesman who enjoyed the confidence of the Polish kings, he shaped Polish domestic and foreign policy.
Influenced by Konrad Celtis and the Florentine Neoplatonism was the scholar and poet Laurentius Corvinus († 1527), who wrote a textbook of the Latin language and provided for the spread of humanism in his native Silesia. Johannes a Lasco, a student of Erasmus, brought to Poland the variant of humanism shaped by his teacher.
Bohemia and Moravia
In Bohemia began an initially very narrow and limited reception of Italian humanism with John of Neumarkt († 1380), the chancellor of Emperor Charles IV. Charles was from 1347 King of Bohemia and made his capital Prague a cultural center. John admired Petrarch, with whom he eagerly corresponded. Karl’s court poet Heinrich von Mügeln was also influenced by humanism. The style of the imperial chancery and literary texts of that period was still strongly influenced by the medieval tradition and not by the linguistic level of contemporary Italian humanism.
In the 15th and early 16th centuries, the most notable representatives of Bohemian humanism were the diplomat Johannes von Rabenstein or Rabstein (Jan Pflug z Rabštejna, 1437-1473), who had studied in Italy and created a huge library, also famous in Italy Poet Bohuslav Hasištejnský z Lobkovic (Bohuslaus Hassensteinius, 1461-1510), who is still prized for his excellent style of Latin letters, and the poet and writer Jan Šlechta ze Všehrd (1466-1525).
The humanistic education reform and its impact
The main concern of Renaissance humanism was the education and science reform. Thus its after-effects, insofar as they are to be considered independently of the general after-effects of the Renaissance, were primarily educational and scientific. Great achievements were the general increase in the level of education in the field of linguistic and historical subjects and the emergence of a new urban class. The humanists collaborated with princes and other patrons to create important libraries and educational institutions. Forward-thinking forms of intellectual exchange and cooperation have been developed in numerous scholarly societies.
At the universities, humanism in the fifteenth century was still largely confined to the ” arts faculty ” (faculty of artes liberales). There, however, theologians, lawyers and physicians also had to complete a propaedeutic degree before they could turn to their subjects. As a result, the humanistic education achieved an extremely strong broad impact. In the 16th century, the humanistic way of thinking and working increasingly asserted itself in the other faculties.
In some educational institutions, in addition to a fundamentally improved teaching of Latin, the study of Greek and Hebrew. Leading the way here was the Collegium trilingue (“Trilingual College “) in Leuven, which began in 1518 teaching.
In the medical faculties the demand for reflection on the authentic Greek sources was raised. The exclusive appeal to ancient medical authorities (“medical humanism”) meant a departure from the Arab authors, who had played an important role in medieval medicine. Thanks to the philological and historical development of the original texts, however, it turned out that the contradictions between the ancient authors were more important than the pre-humanistic harmonizing tradition had made clear. Thus the authority of the classics was shaken by them. This development contributed to the fact that in the course of the early modern period the reliance on the authority of the “ancients” increasingly turned to empirical facts,
From the very beginning, Italian Petrarchism – even with Petrarch – was in sharp contrast to jurisprudence. The criticism of the humanists at the scholastic found here a particularly broad attack surface, because weaknesses of the scholastic mode of operation in this area were particularly obvious. The legal system had become more and more complicated and more inscrutable by the proliferating activity of the glossators and commentators (in Roman law) as well as the decretists and decretalists (in church law), and from a humanistic point of view it was full of sophistry and lifelong formalism. The comments of the leading scholastic civil lawyer Bartolus de Saxoferrato(† 1357) gained such authority that they were in fact – in some places even formally – legally binding. The original source of the law, the ancient Corpus iuris civilis, was spilled in the eyes of the humanists by the mass of medieval commentaries. In addition, they lamented the linguistic clumsiness of the legal texts.
In Italy, the legal profession proved conservative and inaccessible to humanist criticism. Therefore, the humanist reform of jurisprudence began north of the Alps and only in the early 16th century. Since the initiative came from France, where the humanist lawyer Guillaume Budé played a key role, the new legal theory was called mos gallicus (“French Approach”) to distinguish it from the traditional teaching of the Italian scholastics, the mos italicus. Budé saw in philology the basic science par excellence. In the mos gallicus, the humanist demand for a return to the sources of the corpus iuris civiliswhich, like other sources, was subjected to textual criticism (complete edition by Denis Godefroy 1583) and even substantive fundamental criticism, which culminated in a devastating judgment in François Hotman (Antitribonianus, 1574). One of the main aims of legal humanism was to eliminate the belief in the authority of the commentaries and thus to make the knowledge transferred in the study more manageable. In place of the doctrines of commentators should occur, which resulted in a rational consideration of philologically purified source texts directly as their meaning.
In legal practice, the mos gallicus, which was created according to philological criteria, could hardly replace the practical, local customary law of the mos italicus, so that there was a separation of theory and practice; The theory was taught as a “professor right” at the universities, the practice was different.
In the course of the 16th century, the mos gallicus spread to the German-speaking area, but was able to prevail there only very limited. The most notable humanist jurist in Germany was Ulrich Zasius (1461-1535), who laid the foundations for an independent German jurisprudence.
One of the leading humanist educational theorists was Pietro Paolo Vergerio († 1444), who considered historical knowledge to be even more important than moral philosophical and rhetorical knowledge. Vittorino da Feltre (1378-1446) and Guarino da Verona (1370-1460) conceived and practiced exemplary reform education. The humanists, who deal with the theory of education, formulated the new ideal of education in their relevant publications. They went from the first book of Institutio oratoria Quintiliansand by Plutarch attributed essay “On parenting” from. The most important educational theorist of the 15th century, Maffeo Vegio, wrote a comprehensive account of Moral Education. He emphasized the educational importance of imitating a role model that was more important than instruction and admonition. Rudolf Agricola († 1485), Erasmus of Rotterdam († 1536) and Jakob Wimpheling (1450-1528) were the main proponents of humanistic pedagogy in the German-speaking world. Gradually, the scholastic school system was replaced by a humanistic one.
The humanistic education was altogether milder and more lenient than the medieval one, which is due, among other things, to the influence of Pseudo-Plutarch’s book “On the upbringing of children”. The humanist educators also emphasized the harmfulness of excessive indulgence. Among the most important educational tools were the appeal to the ambition and the incitement of the rivalry.
As the Reformation, in its own way, sought a return to the original and the authentic and opposed scholasticism, there were similarities with humanistic aims. The idea of education, which places the knowledge of the ancient languages at the center, was formulated and realized on the Protestant side by the humanist Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560). As Praeceptor Germaniae (“teacher of Germany”) he became the organizer of the Protestant school and university system. A similar educational concept was adopted by the Swiss reformer Ulrich Zwingli(1484-1531). The replacement of the conventional ecclesiastical school system by a communal one in the Protestant areas met humanistic demands.
Humanism and Art
All Humanists shared a high esteem for the aesthetics. They were convinced that beauty goes hand in hand with the valuable, the morally right and the true. This attitude did not only affect language and literature, but all areas of art and lifestyle. As in all other fields, the ancient criteria and standards of value were also applied in fine art.
In humanist circles, the idea was that the literary renewal of ancient splendor by humanism corresponded to a parallel revival of painting after a dark period of decline. Giotto, who had restored painting to its former dignity, praised its pioneer; his performance was analogous to that of his younger contemporary Petrarch. However, Giotto’s style could not be attributed to imitation of classical models.
Humanism exerted great appeal on many artists who associated with humanists. However, concrete effects of humanism on the fine arts can only be mentioned where ancient aesthetic theory became significant for artistic creation, and the humanistic appeal to the model of antiquity was extended to works of art. This was especially the case in architecture. The authoritative classic was Vitruvius, who in his work Ten Books on Architecturehad developed a comprehensive architectural theory, which, however, only partially corresponded to the Roman building practice of his time. Vitruvius had been known throughout the Middle Ages, so the discovery of a St. Gallen Vitruvian manuscript by Poggio Bracciolini in 1416 was not sensational (surely it was not the ancient original). However, the intensity with which humanists and artists (sometimes together) dealt with Vitruvius in many cultural centers in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries was very significant. They adopted his concepts, ideas and aesthetic standards, so that one can speak of a “Vitruvianism” in Italian Renaissance architecture. The humanist and architect Fra Giovanni Giocondopublished in 1511 in Venice a model illustrated Vitruvius issue. In the following years Vitruvs work was also available in Italian translation. In 1542, the Accademia delle Virtù was established in Rome, dedicated to the care of Vitruvianism. Among the artists who studied Vitruvius were the architect, architectural and art theoretician Leon Battista Alberti, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Bramante, Raphael and (during his stay in Italy) Albrecht Dürer. Even Leonardo da Vinci was referring to in his famous sketch of the human proportions Vitruvius. The leading architect and architectural theorist Andrea Palladiodeveloped his own ideas in dealing with Vitruvius theory. He collaborated with the humanist and Vitruvian commentator Daniele Barbaro.
17th and 18th century
A radical anti-humanist position was taken by the philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650), who considered humanistic studies superfluous and even harmful. He rejected philosophical meaning from humanism and opposed the humanistic esteem of rhetoric, whose suggestive character clouded the clarity of thought.
The humanistic tradition established in education offered the public in its representatives cause for criticism. A popular target of the mockery was the figure of the pedantic, unworldly schoolmaster or university teacher, who was accused of the sterility of his education, his fixation on book knowledge as well as arrogance and inanity. The increasing interest in the natural sciences and the associated awareness of progress led to doubts about the absolute exemplary nature of antiquity. These factors somewhat reduced humanist values, but could not jeopardize their primacy in education. In the humanities, the image of history and the value system of the humanists remained predominant: the Middle Ages were devalued compared to the antiquity and the modern era, the classical antiquity retained its normative rank.
In the late 17th century influential figures such as the prominent historian Christoph Cellarius and the Enlightenment Pierre Bayle saw in the turning away of Renaissance humanists from medieval thinking an important step forward. Humanistic education continued to be indispensable. Even in the eighteenth century, the spokesmen of the Enlightenment associated a negative assessment of the Middle Ages with a benevolent evaluation of Renaissance humanism and its educational ideal.
As part of the Enlightenment evolved in the course of the 18th century, the Neuhumanismus. The Neuhumanisten strived for a stronger emphasis on the Greek in addition to the still intensively cultivated Latin. They rejected the concept of Philanthropinisten that at that time the high school created and wanted to push back the Latin in favor of modern languages teaching, science and vocational orientation. The influential archaeologist and art historian Johann Joachim Winckelmann (1717-1768) came for an absolute priority of the Greeks. Leading new humanists were Johann Matthias Gesner (1691-1761) and Christian Gottlob Heyne (1729-1812).
The neo-humanist aspirations culminated in the educational ideal of the Weimar Classic, which again emphasized the exemplary nature of antiquity.
One of the fruits of modern humanism was the foundation of modern antiquity by Friedrich August Wolf (1759-1824). Wolf’s concept of a comprehensive science of “classical” antiquity, whose core was the mastery of classical languages, and his conviction of the superiority of ancient Greece over the other cultures prove him as a follower and developer of core ideas of Renaissance humanism. Such views conflated with the New Humanists in this direction a contempt for the “unclassical” late antique and patristic literature.
On the foundations of the Neuhumanismus based on the name of Wilhelm von Humboldt educational reform in Prussia and the humanistic high school of the 19th and 20th centuries. In Bavaria, Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer, the creator of the term “humanism”, was the champion of a neo-humanist curriculum reform. However, Neuhumanism suffered a setback in the late 19th century: Emperor Wilhelm II, who disliked the preponderance of ancient languages over their mother tongue, initiated a change at the “December Conference” of 1890 (pushing back Latin in the curriculum of the grammar schools, abolition of the Latin essay).
A sharp critic of Renaissance humanism was Hegel. He criticized humanistic thinking as stuck in the concrete, the sensual, in the world of fantasy and art, that it was not speculative and did not intrude into true philosophical reflection. However, Hegel firmly insisted on the humanistic educational ideal.
For the scientific study of Renaissance humanism, the work of Georg Voigt was groundbreaking. In his two-volume work The Revival of Classical Antiquity or The First Century of Humanism (1859) he described the image of the world and man of the early Renaissance humanists, their values, goals and methods and their dealings with each other and their opponents. Voigt emphasized the fundamental novelty of the humanistic attitude, the break with the past. In this sense, the influential cultural historian Jacob Burckhardt took position (The Renaissance culture in Italy, 1860); he saw the beginning of modernism in the Renaissance. In the aftermath of Voigt and Burckhardt’s assessment prevailed largely and shaped the image of humanism the public. The question as to what extent humanism actually represented a break with the past and to what extent there was continuity has since become one of the main themes of research. Medievalists point out that core elements of Renaissance humanism can be found in various forms even in the Middle Ages, sometimes even in distinctive forms. From a scientific-historical perspective, it is asked whether and, if so, how humanism has significantly influenced the development of the natural sciences.
In the course of the nineteenth century, ancient science itself increasingly shook the foundations of the humanistic and neo-humanistic concept of education: the idea of a self-contained, uniform, perfect and exemplary exemplary “classical”. The most famous ancient historian, Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903), did not think at all humanistically. A leading exponent of this period of upheaval in the history of education was the Graecist Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1848-1931), who in some respects represented the humanistic view but radically denied it in other respects. He stated: “Antiquity as a unity and as an ideal is gone; Science itself has destroyed this belief. ”
In the philosophy of the twentieth century, Martin Heidegger emerged as a critic of Renaissance humanism, accusing him of propagating an idea of humanitas that does not grasp the essence of man. In contrast, drew Ernst Cassirer an intellectual history line of development from the Renaissance to Kant as the culmination of the Enlightenment in the sense of understanding of culture as a means of self-liberation and the development of free personality.
The philologist Werner Jaeger (1888-1961) pleaded for a new humanism. His concept, which is referred to as ” Third Humanism ” (after the Renaissance and Weimar Classics), but did not find the hoped for.
Beside the meaning of the word “Humanism”, understood as a historical period, some contemporary authors have expanded its meaning, defining with this lemma some philosophical currents. After Ludwig Feuerbach, exponent of the Hegelian Left, in the nineteenth century he used the term to expose his philosophical considerations, during the twentieth century some intellectuals, mostly linked to existentialism: Jean-Paul Sartre, as a champion of Existentialism atheist, in his text Existentialism is a humanism of 1946; Martin Heidegger, author of the 1947 Letter on Humanism; Jacques Maritain, example of Christian humanism; Ernst Bloch, Rodolfo Mondolfo and Herbert Marcuse, as an example of Marxist Humanism, in which the writings of Marx, especially those of young age,are interpretedin a humanistic key.
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