humanism, philosophical and literary movement in which man and his capabilities are the central concern. The term was originally restricted to a point of view prevalent among thinkers in the Renaissance. The distinctive characteristics of Renaissance humanism were its emphasis on classical studies, or the humanities, and a conscious return to classical ideals and forms. The movement led to a restudy of the Scriptures and gave impetus to the Reformation. The term humanist is applied to such diverse men as Giovanni Boccaccio, Petrarch, Lorenzo Valla, Lorenzo de' Medici, Erasmus, and Thomas More. In the 20th cent., F. C. S. Schiller and Irving Babbitt applied the term to their own thought. Modern usage of the term has had diverse meanings, but some contemporary emphases are on lasting human values, cultivation of the classics, and respect for scientific knowledge.

See M. Hadas, Humanism: The Greek Ideal and Its Survival (1960, repr. 1972) and The Living Tradition (1966); J. Maritain, Integral Humanism (tr. 1968, repr. 1973); R. W. Southern, Medieval Humanism (1971).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

Humanism: Selected full-text books and articles

On Humanism By Richard Norman Routledge, 2012 (2nd edition)
Humanism and the Humanities in the Twenty-First Century By William S. Haney II; Peter Malekin Bucknell University Press, 2001
Humanism and Early Modern Philosophy By Jill Kraye; M. W. F. Stone Routledge, 2000
A Humanist Science: Values and Ideals in Social Inquiry By Philip Selznick Stanford University Press, 2008
History of Humanism By Giuseppe Toffanin; Elio Gianturco Las Americas, 1954
Imperfect Garden: The Legacy of Humanism By Tzvetan Todorov; Carol Cosman Princeton University Press, 2002
In Defense of Secular Humanism By Paul Kurtz Prometheus Books, 1983
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
Atheistic Humanism By Antony Flew Prometheus Books, 1993
Relational and Transcendental Humanism: Exploring the Consequences of a Thoroughly Pragmatic Humanism By Hansen, James T Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education and Development, Vol. 46, No. 2, Fall 2007
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