This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Humanist Writings And English Values Essay

3143 words - 13 pages

Humanist Writings and English Values

In addition to mentioning humanism in many of her chapters in Classical and Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry, author Isabel Rivers also dedicates an entire chapter to the subject. Rivers explains that “A humanist was a classical scholar with two complementary aims: to recover the moral values of classical life, and to imitate the language and style of the classics as a means to that end” (125). Thus, humanist writers imitate and translate the works of classical writers in order to recapture classical morals and to motivate individuals to virtuous action. Sixteenth and seventeenth century English humanist writings reflect the values and morals of English culture at that time.

One important goal of humanist writers was to recover the works of classical writers. After recovering the works of classical writers, humanists imitated and translated these works into the current vernacular in their nation. Through their recovery of these classical works, humanists aimed to create a synthesis of cultural, intellectual, and religious traditions. Some of the different traditions that exist in humanist works include for example those of Christianity, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman beliefs. Early English writer, John Milton, included references to various different cultures and beliefs in “Areopagitica: A Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, to the Parliament of England.”

Early on, Milton makes references to the story of Adam and Eve, a biblical story of Life in both Judaism and Christianity. Milton states, “Foolish tongues! when God gave him reason, he gave him freedom to choose, for reason is but choosing; he had been else a mere artificial Adam, such an Adam as he is in the motions” (1816). This marks the beginning of Milton’s explanation of sin. He argues that God could not remove sin from man because virtue would also be removed. Because God empowered each and every human being with the power to choose, He also empowered humans with the capability to either be virtuous or immoral. If God did not give man freedom to choose, man would be as a puppet. Thus, virtue and sin are inherent human characteristics because they are the result of man’s freedom to decide.

In “Areopagitica,” Milton also makes references to Egyptian traditions and beliefs. The specific story that Milton chooses to use is that of Isis’ desperate search for the mangled body of Osiris. He compares this story to that of the search for the truth in England. He explains, concerning the scattered pieces of truth, “We have not yet found them all, Lords and Commons, nor ever shall do, till her Master’s second coming” (1819). Thus, according to Milton, when the Bible is made readily available to the citizens in England, the people will discover truth. Milton argues that, in enriching all men in the nation with knowledge, it will become a nation of prophets. On the...

Find Another Essay On Humanist Writings and English Values

Greek and LatinClassics by Cicero, Vergil, Horace, Plato and Livy

1090 words - 4 pages Established in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to counter the limited ideals of medieval scholasticism, Renaissance Humanism were educational and social reform ideals that sought to emphasize individualism as a central value in contrast to religious beliefs. Humanists revered the dignity of human kind and called for a life of virtuous action. The writings of Petrarch and Pico exemplify humanist thought by displaying the values of self

More Bacon in Utopia Essay

1528 words - 7 pages Throughout its history, Europe went through several periods of dynamic change. From the 16th to the 17th century, however, these changes took a drastic shift in both religious as well as educational standards. As clearly seen through the writings of both Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis and Thomas More’s Utopia, these changes reflected a deeper movement in human culture. Referred to as the Christian Humanist movement (16th c) and the Scientific

Thomas More's Utopia

1244 words - 5 pages while gracefully combining the two seemingly conflicting ideals of communism and liberalism. In essence, Utopia is a written manifestation of More’s humanist beliefs. Many of these views are vicariously present in the character of Raphael Hythloday. For example, Hythloday comments on the unwillingness of Kings to take advice from others, claiming they are “drenched as they are and infected with false values from boyhood and on” (More, 2011, p. 28

Molding Shakespeare

1284 words - 6 pages mindset of being subject to God, Shakespeare was able to further his study and explore the complexities of individuals. He brought a new psychological realism and depth to drama, and created hundreds of living, believable characters, all of them different, showing the rich diversity of humanity (British Humanist Association). Works Cited Ahn, Jordan M. "Medieval Literature vs. Renaissance Literature." 25 Oct. 2010. Advanced English EAWR

Unraveling the Mystery of William Shakespeare

627 words - 3 pages that rather than being subject to God, man should be subject to study. Investigations in writings of ancient Greece and Rome, astronomy, anatomy, science, and much more began to blossom from the depths of the human psyche (Fabio Castellan). Feelings and emotions were key to illustrating humanism and in turn became the heart of modern literature. “Shakespeare himself indicated little interest in or support of religious supernaturalism. The absence

The Humanist Movement During the Renaissance

1250 words - 5 pages addressing the question of diversity in the movement. Several times, when Montaigne, an influential French writer during the Renaissance, explored humanist values and ideals, his studies' results contradicted other humanist studies and values, displaying the varying information and subsets of humanism. It is believed by Kristeller, that all humanists of the era had "a scholarly, literary, and educational ideal based on the study of classical

Victorianism and Existentialism

1446 words - 6 pages Victorianism “can be taken to mean the parent of the modern” (Landow). The term Victorianism refers to the attitudes, ways, ideas, changes and events of the Victorian Era. “The Victorian Era is generally agreed to stretch through the reign of Queen Victoria” (Miller), from 1837 to 1901. During this period, which was “sometimes called the Second English Renaissance” (Miller), the Victorians faced many modern problems. However, the Victorian

Thomas More's Utopia

1396 words - 6 pages unwillingness of Kings to take advice from others, claiming they are “drenched as they are and infected with false values from boyhood and on” (More, 2011, p. 28). The idea of “infection” implies that a man is not naturally corrupt or sinful, but rather pure at heart and simply influenced by the environment an individual is exposed to. This is a key humanist concept, which suggests that human nature is malleable and inconstant, and therefore can be

the scholemaster

813 words - 3 pages , the proper use of imitation, and the importance of decorum for the aristocratic youths the schoolmaster would be fashioning into courtiers. Ascham's Scholemaster is also significant for being published in English, making a classical model of education available to more students than ever before. While many of the ideas were not original to Ascham, his effort to put those ideas into the vernacular made him the standard-bearer for English humanist

Historical Event

1257 words - 6 pages of the 15th century, when the Renaissance began. The thinkers of the Renaissance are associated with antiquity, the classics, history, and moral philosophy. With the bringing back of the classics, some writing contained an English-Latin mixture. The main idea associated with the Renaissance is humanism, which brought to view the importance of human value. The influences on work included Christianity, classical antiquity, scholarship, and politics

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen

947 words - 4 pages as a dominate provider husband. To Ibsen, A Doll House is not a feminist but instead he viewed it as a humanist play. Which after reading the definition it is clear that humanist meaning a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity although when looking at the definition of a feminist back at the begging both humanist and feminist almost basically have the same meaning. Even though going back to where

Similar Essays

How Does Marlowe's "Faustus" Test The Older Religious System Of Values And The New Humanist Ideals

1924 words - 8 pages David NorrisENGL 210Mr. Michael Griffith20 April 2007Research Essay: Question OneMarlowe's Faustus tests the older religious system of values and the new humanist ideals. Each offered a uniquely different path in which one should best to follow or lead their particular life. The play is a fine example of a hybridized work that draws on both the strengths and weaknesses from each school of thought. In the essay The Defense of Poesy published nine

In What Ways Does A Comparative Study Of The Intertextual Connections Between Mrs Dalloway And The Hours Enhance An Audience’s Appreciation Of The Distinctive Values And Context? Year 12 Advanced...

1867 words - 8 pages ‘Mrs Dalloway’ and ‘The Hours’ enhance its audiences’ appreciation of the distinctive values and contexts presented within the texts. Virginia Woolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway’ explores the concept of the 1920s post-WWI era of societal bourgeoisie, effects of the war on veterans, such as shell-shock and PTSD, which can lead to mental illness and suicidal manners, and also the importance of the roles of women and the rising awareness of the concept of

Humanism In Renaissance Literature Essay

1155 words - 5 pages studi humanitatis, those studies (grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and moral philosophy).The arrival of Humanism in England was a revolutionary change in English literature. Humanism is known as a major social philosophy, literary and intellectual flows which developed in the 14th century in Italy.A humanist philosophy emphasizes dignity and perfectibility of humanity, placed reason above revelation. Humanists directed the intellectual power of

At The Height Of Their Respective Era’s Greece And Rome

1220 words - 5 pages on the secular value of the classic works, or the humanities. Italian writers such as Dante and Petrarch helped to establish the movement by not only translating the classical works of Greece and Rome, but also by contributing original ideas. As the dominant movement in Europe at the time, it is logical that humanist values would have a profound effect on education. An Italian humanist educator, Guarino, asserts the importance humanists place on