Humanism A Curriculum on “The Quality of Being a Man”
A. Characteristics • 1. Revival of antiquity • 2. Belief in individual and potential of humans
3. Focus on study of ancient languages • A. Latin, intially • B. Greek after Fall of Constantinople in 1453 • 4. Largely reject Scholasticism in favor of: • A. Favor Roman authors – esp. Cicero, Virgil • B. Greek writers – esp. Plato • C. Early Christian writers of New Testament
5. LIBERAL ARTS: Grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, politics, and moral philosophy • 6. Civic Humanism: ed. to prepare leaders
The seven liberal arts comprised two groups of studies: the trivium and the quadrivium. Studies in the trivium involved grammar, dialectic (logic), and rhetoric; and studies in the quadrivium involved arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy. The term liberal in liberal arts is from the Latin word liberalis, meaning "appropriate for free men" (social and political elites), and they were contrasted with the servile arts. The liberal arts thus initially represented the kinds of skills and general knowledge needed by the elite echelon of society, whereas the servile arts represented specialized tradesman skills and knowledge needed by persons who were employed by the elite. The seven liberal arts are part of the instruction of the Fellow Craft Degree.
B. Major Figures • 1. Petrarch – Father of Humanism • A. Literature not sub. to religion. • B. “Dark Ages” = time between fall of Roman Empire and Renaissance • C. Used textual analysis of ancient texts.
2. Boccacio – Compiled Greek and Roman mythology encycl. • A. Decameron most famous work • 1. 100 earthy tales • 2. Wisdom on human character
3. Leonard Bruni • A. First to use term ‘humanism’ • B. Imp. Civic Humanist • C. Writes history of Florence using PS material
4. Lorenzo Valla • A. Foremost expert on Latin lang. • B. On the False Donation of Constantine • 1. Exposed 8th century fraud • 2. Denies 4th century grant of territory • C. Points out errors in Latin Vulgate • 1. Gives challengers ammunition • 2. Ironically, he remains a devoted Catholic
5. Pico della Mirandola • A. Oration on the Dignity of Man • 1. Most famous Ren. work on nature of humankind • 2. Humans created by God and given tremendous potential for greatness, and even union with God if they desired it • 3. Humans could also choose negative course. Thus, humans had FREE WILL to be great or fail.