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Word Count: 1,350
Humanism and the Renaissance The Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines humanism as 1 Any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests values and dignity are taken to be of primary importance as in moral judgments 2 Devotion to or study of the humanities 3 The studies principles or culture of the Humanists But the true definition of humanism cannot be relegated to dictionary text alone it must be expanded upon to include its origins and historical significance The ancient Greeks and Romans first developed the idea of humanism as a very simplistic idea- to achieve excellence in life through ones own accomplishments and endeavors For hundreds of years this was the primary definition of humanism That all changed during the fourteenth century A rebirth in an interest in things classical or ancient Greek and Roman encompassed geographic areas spanning from Italy to northern Europe This movement became known as the Renaissance The Renaissance incorporated ideas from the past with renewed passions in science history poetry languages and most importantly religion Mirroring the ideas and theories of this era new definitions of humanism were formulated during the Renaissance Giovanni Pico della Mirandola typified the mindset of the fifteenth century humanist As one of the most brilliant scholars of his time Pico della Mirandola was proficient in Latin Hebrew Greek Arabic and Chaldee This knowledge of languages enabled him to be extremely well read in original versions of ancient Greek and Arabic texts as well as the Holy Bible Pico della Mirandola practiced both Renaissance and Classical humanism He focused on the relation of the human to the divine seeing in human beings the summit and purpose of Gods creation Renaissance humanists were concerned about defining the humans place in Gods plan and the relation of the human to the divine Pico della Mirandolas Oration on the Dignity of Man epitomizes his humanist rational In Oration he cites
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