The Renaissance Humanistic Concept of Man.
Each century brings something new into this world. Some ages thus become prominent, others don’t seem to contribute a lot to the humanity. The Renaissance became the symbol of awakening, the symbol of excellence and rebirth. It gave birth to the doctrines and principles that dominate the philosophy up until nowadays. Humanism developed as one of the principal philosophical concepts of Renaissance.
What does this concept mean, why is it so crucial to understanding of the epoch of Renaissance? With the philosophy of humanism 14th century Italy obtained the major doctrines of the revival: study of the classics, importance on learning, and emphasis on the human values, concern with man and his problems. The latter is the main difference between the Middle Ages and Renaissance: the Renaissance is man-centered, the other one is God-centered. The problems of free will, virtue, fate are closely connected and broadly discussed by the thinkers of Renaissance.
From the very beginning of humanistic thought, starting from Petrarch, the idea of individual’s importance started to develop among the literary philosophers. In his writings Petrarch expresses a great concern with the ignorance of men towards themselves. “Men go to admire the heights of mountains, the great floods of the sea, the courses of rivers, the shores of the ocean, and the orbits of the stars, and neglect themselves,” he quotes St. Augustine in “The Ascent of Mount Ventoux”. In fact, this entire writing is an allegorical description of the struggle within his self that had eventually led to the conversion and elevation to the higher state of mind. The mountain itself can be an allegory for all the knowledge to be mastered in order to obtain the wisdom and virtue of happiness, or it could be a deceitful path to faith in God.
Petrarch believes that our understanding of the world starts with the self-exploration and aw...
1. Kristeller, Paul O., Renaissance Concepts of Man, New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1972.
2. Martinez, Lauro, Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985.
3. Ed. by Cassier, Ernst; Kristeller Paul O.; Randall, John H. Jr., The Renaissance Philosphers of Man, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1948.