Christian humanism regards humanist principles like universal human dignity, individual freedom and the importance of happiness as essential and principal components of the teachings of Jesus.
It emerged during the Renaissance with strong roots in the patristic period.
The Northern Renaissance
Historically, major forces shaping the development of Christian humanism was the Christian doctrine that God , in the person of Jesus, became human in order to redeem humanity, and the further injunction for the participating human collective the church to act out the life of Christ.
The initial distinguishing factor between Christian humanism and other varieties of humanism is that Christian humanists not only discussed religious or theological issues in some or all their works as did all Renaissance humanists but according to Charles Nauert;. Even more important, they associated their scholarly work classical as well as biblical and patristic with a determination to bring about a spiritual renewal and institutional reform of Christian society.
They would combine the greatest morals in the pre-Christian moral philosophers, such as Cicero and Seneca with Christian interpretations deriving from study of the Bible and Church Fathers. Although the first humanists did little to orient their intellectual work towards reforming the church and reviving spiritual life through humanist education, the first pioneering signs and practices of this idea emerged with Jakob Wimpfeling , a Renaissance humanist and theologian.
Wimpfeling was very critical of ecclesiastical patronage and criticized the moral corruption of many clergymen, however, his timidity stopped him from converting his work from speech to action for fear of controversy. Though he loved reading many of the classics of the writings of classical antiquity, he feared introducing them to mainstream Christianity and sought to use the works of the Latin Church Fathers and a few Christian poets from the Late Roman Empire towards creating a new form of education that would provide church leaders educated in Christian religion, prominent Church authors and a few important classical writings and hence improve Christendom's condition.
John Colet was another major figure in early Christian humanism, exerting much more cultural influence than his older contemporary, Jakob Wimpfeling.
Being attracted to Neoplatonic philosophers like Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola and gaining an appreciation for humanistic methods of analyzing texts and developing detailed ideas and principles regarding them, he used this humanistic method and begun giving it a biblical applications to the epistles of Paul the Apostle.
In , he completed his doctorate in theology, and then became a dean at St. Paul's Cathedral. From there, he used his fortune to found near the cathedral St Paul's School for boys. The school was humanistic, both in its teaching of Latin and moral preparation of its students, as well as its recruitment of prominent humanists to recommend and compose new textbooks for it.
The best Christian authors were taught, as well as a handful of pagan texts predominantly Cicero and Virgil , however, his restrictions on the teaching of other classical texts was seen as anti-humanistic and quickly reverted by the schools headmasters. After his death, his school at St.
Paul's would become an influential humanistic school. He was very critical of many church leaders.
He was educated in the University of Paris and began studying Greek under George Hermonymus due to his interest in contemporary cultural changes in Italy. He taught humanities as Paris and, among his earliest scholarly works, was writing an introduction to Aristotle 's Metaphysics. He would write many other works on Aristotle and promote the use of direct translations of Aristotle's work from the original Greek rather than the medieval Latin translations that currently existed.
His focus then began to shift to the Greek Church Fathers whom he personally considered abler sources for the pedagogy of spiritual life than medieval scholasticism, and his goal became to help revive spiritual life in Europe, retiring in to focus on precisely this.
He began publishing various Latin texts of biblical books such as the Psalms and Pauline epistles and was keen to study textual variations between surviving manuscripts. According to Nauert, these "biblical publications constitute the first major manifestation of the Christian humanism that dominated not only French but also German, Netherlandish, and English humanistic thought through the first half of the sixteenth century.
Erasmus was the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance and the most widely influential Christian humanist scholar in history, becoming the most famous scholar in Europe in his day. One of the defining components of his intellectual success was his mastery of Greek.
As early as December of while in England, he had written in a letter that his primary motivation for returning to the continent was to pursue studying Greek,  and quickly mastered it without a tutor and access to only a small number of Greek texts.
In , he translated Euripides ' Hecuba and, and in , he translated Euripides ' Iphigenia in Aulis , both being published in Erasmus wrote that his motivation in creating these translations was to restore the "science of theology", which had lost its great status because of the medieval scholastics.
Two years earlier, he had written that he was going to invest his entire life into the study of scripture through his Greek work;.
Hereafter I intend to address myself to the Scriptures and to spend all the rest of my life upon them. Therefore for nearly the past three years I have been wholly absorbed by Greek; and I do not think my efforts have been altogether wasted. He had published his Handbook of a Christian Knight Enchiridion militis christiani in , writing about his new intellectual direction towards Christ's philosophy, though this text did not gain much popularity.
Renaissance humanism in Northern Europe
However, when it was published on its own in , it became incredibly popular with 29 Latin editions between and receiving translations into English, Dutch, German, French, and Spanish. He also gained incredible success as a textual scholar, interpreting, translating and editing numerous texts of Greek and Roman classics, Church Fathers and the Bible.
What Was Humanism? AP Euro Bit by Bit #2
This textual success began when he discovered and published Lorenzo Valla 's Annotations on the New Testament in , and in a single year, in , Erasmus published the first Greek edition of the New Testament, an edition of the works of the Roman philosopher Seneca , and a four-volume edition of St.
Jerome 's letters. His criticisms of many clergymen and injustices were widely popular and widely renowned for decades to come, and he succeeded in having truly and fully founded Christian humanism. Some prominent humanists reject the validity of terms like "Christian humanism".
Andrew Copson refers to Christian humanism as a "hybrid term From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Redirected from Christian Humanism. Giovanni Mirandola.
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Northern and Southern Renaissance - Study Guide