Erasmus amd Humanism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by thjplgvp, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
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    I asked this question in the history forum but have received no response therefore I ask it here in the theology section. (a moderator can close the question in the histoyr section)

    Erasmus the great Latin scholar of Catholic church was known to be a "well traveled humanist". What would be the major differences in defining humanism in the 15th century and defining humanism in the 21st century?
     
  2. Joseph M. Smith

    Joseph M. Smith
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    Just off the top of my head, without consulting my library: humanism in the era of the Renaissance refers to that era's rediscovery of classic Greek and Roman literature and philosopy, its transition from icon-style paintings to art that depicted the human body realistically, and its focus on this world more than on the world to come.

    In our time, I think humanism is generally seen to be about the same thing as secularism ... living life without reference to God. Sometimes it also connotes an ethical concern, but one divorced from any transcendant reference.

    Of course, subtly, the humanists of the Renaissance did undermine the old theocentric world view, even though they continued to accept many basic Christian/catholic tenets.

    I'm sure I could do better than that if I could get to my medieval/Renaissance books, but my study is in an upheaval right now!
     
  3. thjplgvp

    thjplgvp
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    RE:Humanism

    Thank you Joseph,

    I am currently reading "Grandmasters of Educational Thought" by Adolphe Meyer and Erasmus has a chapter all to himself. Though an interesting book I find myself often reaching for a dictionary and most often unable to find the definitions for the words he either uses or makes up. :tongue3:

    thjplgvp

    :type:
     
  4. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    While humanism in the days of the Renaissance was likely somewhat different than humanism today, they also had much in common. Concerning Renaissance humanism, Roland Bainton noted that "a menace to Christianity was implicit in the movement because it was centered on man, because the quest for truth in any quarter might lead to relativity, and because the philosophies of antiquity had no place for the distinctive tenets of Christianity: the Incarnation and the Cross" (Here I Stand, p. 95). Norman Davies observed that Renaissance humanism was marked by an "anthropocentric or man-centered view" and by "its fondness for pagan antiquity" (Europe, p. 479). Francis Schaeffer stated: "Beginning from man alone, Renaissance humanism--and humanism ever since--has found no way to arrive at universals or absolutes which give meaning to existence and morals" (How Should We Then Live, p. 55). Alister McGrath wrote that Jacob Burchardt regarded the humanists of the Renaissance "as the advocates of individualism, secularism, and moral autonomy" (Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation, pp. 32-33). Norman Davies asserted: "Left to itself, humanism will always finds its logical destination in atheism" (Europe: A History, p. 480). George Faludy pointed out that present-day humanists "are strikingly similar in their stand to their fifteenth-century predecessors" such as Erasmus, and that humanists today retain many of the ideas of Erasmus (Erasmus, p. 262). Schaeffer noted that Reformer Guillaume Farel opposed on principle the Christian humanism of Erasmus (How Should We Then Live, pp. 82, 84). An article in the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal stated: "Erasmus is man-centered both in his theology and in his method" (November, 1995, p. 30). In another article in this same journal, Garrett Eriks wrote: "Erasmus was a Renaissance rationalist who placed reason above Scripture" (April, 1999, p. 26).
     
  5. J.D.

    J.D.
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    Erasmus was, of course, Luther's theological opponent in the debate over free will.
     

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