Talk:Humanism

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The lede is a mess[edit]

What's going on y'all? Byelf2007 (talk) July 18 2012

1856 was not before Humanism used to mean "secular"[edit]

I am going to revert this erroneous insertion which is contradicted by body of the text. Humanism derives from the Latin humanitas (which see), which in classical times meant kindness in the sense of not like an animal (i.e., civilized, rather than violent and brutal). Humanitas thus referred to those qualities that distinguished human beings, civilized human human beings, in particular. In late antiquity humanitas came to mean "learning" as well. In the second century AD, a well-known Latin grammarian, Aulus Gellius (c. 125 – c. 180) maintained it was incorrect to use humanitas to mean kind or civilized. In Gellius's opinion humanitas ought to be used strictly to mean "learned". However, he was wrong, those great Latin writers, Cicero and Julius Ceasar, regularly used humanitas to mean benevolent and civilized and this was a well established usage. Nevertheless Aulus Gellius's definition was taken up with great enthusiasm in the Renaissance and is still retained in languages other than English. These two meanings "kindness" (humanity) and "learning" are thus the two main strains of meaning that the words "humanity" and its derivative "humanism" have denoted through the centuries, sometimes with more emphasis on one meaning, sometimes on the other. All the words ending in -ism, by the way, (an ending borrowed from Latin, into German ), date from the nineteenth century (except the lone prior example someone has found of humanism used in French). Humanitas (meaning kindness and benevolence toward other human beings) also apparently was an important concept in Free Masonry, which had its heyday at the turn of the nineteenth century. However, I don't know very much about this freemason aspect, which is mentioned in the German wikipedia, I gather. Mballen (talk) 03:22, 5 February 2014 (UTC) 173.77.14.63 (talk) 14:32, 6 February 2014 (UTC)

I see that George Holyoake coined the word "secularism" (but not the word "secular", which meant the world as it exists in time as opposed to eternity, in 1851. Before then, "secular" was not opposed to "religious", it just meant this life as opposed to the next. Holyoake later adopted the word "agnosticism", in preference to atheism, to describe what he believed (or didn't believe. Humanitas always applied to this world. In the next world you don't have to have humanity, you just spend eternity as a sort of angel, praising God. Mballen (talk) 03:28, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Os Guinness[edit]

I have some problems with having this person cited as a historian. His wikipedia article also reads like publicity material and the talk page complains that their are no independent sources to justify his notability. In any case, I removed the sentence that gave an erroneous description of what Renaissance humanists believed and am leaving the reference to him in it for now, despite his quotation's being very POV, not to say quite untrue. Contrary to what he suggests, Galileo is not an example of a Renaissance humanist. In the mid-sixteenth century Erasmus was briefly placed on the Index of forbidden books for Pelagianism (I believe), the heresy that contends that man can win salvation by works alone without grace. But he was soon taken off. Catholicism recognizes both works and grace; and Erasmus actually tried to adhere to a middle way. Some maintain that the Jesuits were very influenced by Erasmus's compromise. Calvin and Luther's view of man's total depravity was much more extreme even than that of the Catholic church The sinfulness of man was very much emphasized during the seventeenth century wars of religion. Mballen (talk) 01:24, 10 February 2014 (UTC)

Here is what Mr. Guinness, who is an evangelical Christian, has to say elsewhere about humanism:

Ever since the Renaissance, there has been a humanism that was post-Christian but claimed to have just as high a view of human dignity as Christians had. But now you have the so-called anti-humanists who have come along to say, wait a minute, you’re borrowing Christian views of human dignity, but if there’s no Christianity you have no right to that. So you can see today that a science-based naturalism is giving us lower and lower and lower views of human dignity. So there’s a good example. Only the Jewish and Christian anthropology, view of human dignity, is keeping alive certain things like human rights. http://www.ameliachapel.com/blog/index.php/tag/os-guinness/

I think I can discern something behind this. It is true -- and our article doesn't really recognize it yet -- that the Christian Church in the Middle Ages kept alive the notion (inherited from both the Bible and the Stoicism of pagan Rome), of human dignity. The fathers of the Church, such as Lactantius, Saint Augustine, and and St. Jerome (Renaissance favorites, by the way) were devoted to Cicero and Senecca and considered them Christian in everything but name. This was the Church's official potition. The Church kept alive Roman law, as well. But basically Mr. Guiness's writing seems to me like gibberish. Mballen (talk) 02:00, 10 February 2014 (UTC) Mballen (talk) 02:04, 10 February 2014 (UTC) (added link)

Semi-protected edit request on 5 May 2014[edit]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism#cite_note-3

The third citation for Humanism is currently: Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, XII: 17.

It should read Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, XIII: 17.

(XII -> XIII)

Source: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Gellius/13*.html

64.125.102.218 (talk) 17:27, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Mz7 (talk) 21:24, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Humanity and litterae humaniores in the age of sensibility[edit]

A lesson in humanity from the Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1767):

[My] uncle Toby had scarce a heart to retaliate upon a fly. "Go," says he, one day at dinner, to an over-grown one which had buzzed about his nose, and tormented him cruelly all dinner-time, and which after infinite attempts he had caught at last, as it flew by him. —"I'll not hurt thee," says my uncle Toby, rising from his chair, and going across the room, with the fly in his hand.—"I'll not hurt a hair of thy head. Go," says he, lifting up the sash, and opening his hand as he spoke, to let it escape, "Go, poor devil, get thee gone, why should I hurt thee? This world surely is wide enough to hold both thee and me."
I was but ten years old when this happened: but whether it was, that the action itself was more in unison to my nerves at that age of pity, which instantly set my whole frame into one vibration of most pleasurable sensation —or how far the manner and expression of it might go towards it — or in what degree, or by what secret magic—a tone of voice and harmony of movement, attuned by mercy, might find a passage to my heart, I know not. This I know, that the lesson of universal good-will then taught and imprinted by my uncle Toby, has never since been worn out of my mind. And tho' I would not depreciate what the study of the Literae humaniores at the university have done for me in that respect or discredit the other helps of an expensive education bestowed upon me, both at home and abroad since — yet I often think that I owe one half of my philanthropy to that one accidental impression.
This is to serve for parents and governors instead of a whole volume upon the subject. --Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy: Gentleman, Chapter 1.