The Renaissance Humanists

        Humanism was an intellectual movement which first emerged in Italy and France in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Renaissance "humanists" was a group made up of  practicing Catholic scholars and artists who were the cultural leaders of the Renaissance. Their two main concerns were philology (the science of the meaning and history of words) and history. Their belief in religion and it's role was also conflicting with it's time.

        The Renaissance Humanists believed that the civilizations of  Rome and Greece should be models for their current civilizations. To achieve and surpass this example, they felt people should appreciate classical times. Their goal was to recover some of the artistry, skill, and pride of the ancient Greeks and Romans, to replicate their successes, and go beyond them.

        By focusing on the human race and its capacities they argued they were worshipping God more suitably than traditional dispirited priests and monks who overemphasize and dwelled on sin and confession. They preached that the proper worship of God involved the admiration and awareness of his creation of humans.

        Some Renaissance Humanists even claimed that humans were not only in God's image, but that humans were like God but with only a fraction of his creative power. Some believed that by using one's intellectual powers, an ordinary person could fulfill his divine purpose.

        Although humanist thought was mixed with Renaissance components such as superstition, the focus and accent on the importance of human capacity left Europeans a powerful legacy. The blended concern for the history and actions of human beings with religious matters supported things such as literature and philosophy and promoted it's result of better understanding of the problems with humanity.

        Renaissance Humanism led directly into the thinking of the Enlightenment.