Christian humanism

Christian humanism regards humanist principles like universal human dignity and individual freedom and the primacy of human happiness as essential and principal components of the teachings of Jesus, and explicitly emerged during the Renaissance with strong roots in the patristic period. Historically, major forces shaping the development of Christian humanism was the Christian doctrine that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, became human in order to redeem humanity, and the further injunction for the participating human collective (the church) to act out the life of Christ.[1] Many of these ideas had emerged among the patristics, and would develop into Christian humanism in the late 15th century, through which the ideals of "common humanity, universal reason, freedom, personhood, human rights, human emancipation and progress, and indeed the very notion of secularity (describing the present saeculum preserved by God until Christ’s return) are literally unthinkable without their Christian humanistic roots."[2][3][4] Though there is a common association of humanism with agnosticism and atheism in popular culture, this association developed in the 20th century and non-humanistic forms of agnosticism and atheism have long existed.[5]


The initial distinguishing factor between Christian humanism and other varieties of humanism is that Christian humanists not only discussed religious or theological issues in some or all their works (as did all Renaissance humanists) but according to Charles Nauert;

made a connection between their humanistic teaching and scholarship on classical languages and literature, on the one hand, and on the other hand, their study of ancient Christianity, including the Bible and the Church Fathers... Even more important, they associated their scholarly work (classical as well as biblical and patristic) with a determination to bring about a spiritual renewal and institutional reform of Christian society. That connection between their scholarly efforts and their longing for spiritual and institutional renewal is the specific characteristic that distinguishes “Christian humanists” as a group from other humanists who just happened to be religious."[6]




Christian humanism originated towards the end of the 15th century with the early work of figures such as Jakob Wimpfeling, John Colet, and Thomas More and would go on to dominate much of the thought in the first half of the 16th century with the emergence of widely influential Renaissance and humanistic intellectual figures like Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples and especially Erasmus, who would become the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance.[6] These scholars used much of their intellectual work towards reforming the church and reviving spiritual life through humanist education, and were highly critical of the corruption they saw in the Church and ecclesiastical life. They would combine the greatest morals in the pre-Christian moral philosophers, such as Cicero and Seneca with Christian interpretations deriving from study of the Bible and Church Fathers.

Jakob Wimpfeling

Although the first humanists did little to orient their intellectual work towards reforming the church and reviving spiritual life through humanist education, the first pioneering signs and practices of this idea emerged with Jakob Wimpfeling (1450-1528), a Renaissance humanist and theologian. Wimpfeling was very critical of ecclessiastical patronage and criticized the moral corruption of many clergymen, however, his timidity stopped him from converting his work from speech to action for fear of controversy. Though he loved reading many of the classics of the writings of classical antiquity, he feared introducing them to mainstream Christianity and sought to use the works of the Latin Church Fathers and a few Christian poets from the Late Roman Empire towards creating a new form of education that would provide church leaders educated in Christian religion, prominent Church authors and a few important classical writings and hence improve Christnedom's condition.[7]

John Colet

John Colet
Portrait of John Colet

John Colet (1467-1519) was another major figure in early Christian humanism, exerting much more cultural influence than his older contemporary, Jakob Wimpfeling. Being attracted to Neoplatonic philosophers like Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola and gaining an appreciation for humanistic methods of analyzing texts and developing detailed ideas and principles regarding them, he used this humnanistic method and begun giving it a biblical applications to the epistles of Paul the Apostle. In 1505, he completed his doctorate in theology, and then became a dean at St. Paul's Cathedral. From there, he used his fortune to found near the cathedral St Paul's School for boys. The school was humanistic, both in its teaching of Latin and moral preparation of its students, as well as its recruitment of prominent humanists to recommend and compose new textbooks for it. The best Christian authors were taught, as well as a handful of pagan texts (predominantly Cicero and Virgil), however, his restrictions on the teaching of other classical texts was seen as anti-humanistic and quickly reverted by the schools headmasters. After his death, his school at St. Paul's would become an influential humanistic school. He was very critical of many church leaders.[8] Colet failed to recognize the importance of mastering Greek when it came to application of humanistic methods to biblical texts, which would be the greatest strength of the work of Erasmus.[9]

Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples

Jacques Lefèvre d'Étaples (1453–1536) was, alongside Erasmus, the first of the great Christian humanists to see the importance of integrating Christian learning, in both the patristics and biblical writings, with many of the best intellectual achievements of ancient civilizations and classical thought. He was educated in the University of Paris and began studying Greek under George Hermonymus due to his interest in contemporary cultural changes in Italy. He taught humanities as Paris and, among his earliest scholarly works, was writing an introduction to Aristotle's Metaphysics. He would write many other works on Aristotle and promote the use of direct translations of Aristotle's work from the original Greek rather than the medieval Latin translations that currently existed. His focus then began to shift to the Greek Church Fathers whom he personally considered abler sources for the pedagogy of spiritual life than medieval scholasticism, and his goal became to help revive spiritual life in Europe, retiring in 1508 to focus on precisely this. He began publishing various Latin texts of biblical books such as the Psalms and Pauline epistles and was keen to study textual variations between surviving manuscripts. According to Nauert, these "biblical publications constitute the first major manifestation of the Christian humanism that dominated not only French but also German, Netherlandish, and English humanistic thought through the first half of the sixteenth century."[10][11]


Portrait of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam with Renaissance Pilaster

Erasmus (1466-1536) was the greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance and the most widely influential Christian humanist scholar in history, becoming the most famous scholar in Europe in his day. One of the defining components of his intellectual success was his mastery of Greek. As early as December of 1500 while in England, he had written in a letter that his primary motivation for returning to the continent was to pursue studying Greek,[12] and quickly mastered it without a tutor and access to only a small number of Greek texts. In 1505, he translated Euripides' Hecuba and, and in 1506, he translated Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis, both being published in 1506. Erasmus wrote that his motivation in creating these translations was to restore the "science of theology", which had lost its great status because of the medieval scholastics. Two years earlier, he had written that he was going to invest his entire life into the study of scripture through his Greek work;

Hereafter I intend to address myself to the Scriptures and to spend all the rest of my life upon them. Three years ago, indeed, I ventured to do something on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans ... and would have gone on, but for certain distractions of which the most important was that I needed the Greek at every point. Therefore for nearly the past three years I have been wholly absorbed by Greek; and I do not think my efforts have been altogether wasted.[13]

He had published his Handbook of a Christian Knight (Enchiridion militis christiani) in 1503, writing about his new intellectual direction towards Christ's philosophy, though this text did not gain much popularity. However, when it was published on its own in 1515, it became incredibly popular with 29 Latin editions between 1519-1523 and receiving translations into English, Dutch, German, French, and Spanish. "The secret of its spectacular popular success was its combination of three elements: emphasis on personal spiritual experience rather than external ceremonies, frank criticism of many clergymen for moral corruption ... and insistence that true religion must be expressed in a morally upright life rather than in punctilious observance of the external trappings of religion."[14] The title, Enchiridion, could mean both "dagger" and "handbook", hence, had a double-meaning implying its use as a weapon in spiritual warfare.[15] The popularity of Erasmus and his work was further amplified by the success of his literary works like The Praise of Folly, published in 1511, and Colloquies, published in 1518. He also gained incredible success as a textual scholar, interpreting, translating and editing numerous texts of Greek and Roman classics, Church Fathers and the Bible. This textual success began when he discovered and published Lorenzo Valla's Annotations on the New Testament in 1504-1505, and in a single year, in 1516, Erasmus published the first Greek edition of the New Testament, an edition of the works of the Roman philosopher Seneca, and a four-volume edition of St. Jerome's letters. His criticisms of many clergymen and injustices were widely popular and widely renowned for decades to come, and he succeeded in having truly and fully founded Christian humanism.[14]


Some prominent humanists reject the validity of terms like "Christian humanism". Andrew Copson refers to Christian humanism as a "hybrid term... which some from a Christian background have been attempting to put into currency." Copson argues that attempts to append religious adjectives like Christian to the life stance of humanism are incoherent, saying these have "led to a raft of claims from those identifying with other religious traditions – whether culturally or in convictions – that they too can claim a ‘humanism’. The suggestion that has followed – that ‘humanism’ is something of which there are two types, ‘religious humanism’ and ‘secular humanism’, has begun to seriously muddy the conceptual water.".[16]

See also


  1. ^ Zimmerman, Jens. "Introduction," in Zimmermann, Jens, ed. Re-Envisioning Christian Humanism. Oxford University Press, 2017, 5.
  2. ^ Zimmermann, 6-7.
  3. ^ Croce, Benedetto Croce. My Philosophy and Other Essays on the Moral and Political Problems of Our Time (London: Allen & Unwin, 1949)
  4. ^ Zimmermann, Jens. Humanism and Religion: A Call for the Renewal of Western Culture. Oxford University Press, 2012.
  5. ^ Geroulanos, Stefan. An Atheism That Is Not Humanist Emerges in French Thought. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010)
  6. ^ a b Nauert, Charles, "Rethinking “Christian Humanism” in Mazzocco, Angelo, ed. Interpretations of Renaissance humanism. Brill, 2006, 155-180.
  7. ^ Nauert, 170-171.
  8. ^ Nauert, 171-172.
  9. ^ Gleason, John B. John Colet. Univ of California Press, 1989, 58-59.
  10. ^ Rice Jr, Eugene F. "The Humanist Idea of Christian Antiquity: Lefèvre d'Etaples and his Circle." Studies in the Renaissance 9 (1962): 126-160.
  11. ^ Nauert, 173-174.
  12. ^ Erasmus to Batt, Orléans, 11 December 1500, Ep. 138 (CWE 1:294–300; Allen 1:320–24)
  13. ^ Erasmus to Colet, [December?] 1504, Ep. 181 (CWE 2:86–87; Allen 1:404–5)
  14. ^ a b Nauert, 176-180.
  15. ^ Anne M. O’Donnell, ‘Rhetoric and Style in Erasmus’ Enchiridion militis Christiani’, Studies in Philology 77/1 (1980), 26.
  16. ^ Copson, Andrew, and Anthony Clifford Grayling, eds. The Wiley Blackwell handbook of humanism. John Wiley & Sons, 2015, 2-3. Chapter: What is Humanism?

Further reading

  • Bequette, John P. Christian Humanism: Creation, Redemption, and Reintegration. University Press of America, 2007.
  • Erasmus, Desiderius, and Beatus Rhenanus. Christian Humanism and the Reformation: Selected Writings of Erasmus, with His Life by Beatus Rhenanus and a Biographical Sketch by the Editor. Fordham Univ Press, 1987.
  • Boyle, Nicholas. Who Are We Now? Christian Humanism and the Global Market from Hegel to Heaney. T&T Clark, 1998.
  • Oser, Lee. The Return of Christian Humanism: Chesterton, Eliot, Tolkien, and the Romance of History. University of Missouri Press, 2007.
  • Shaw, Joseph et al. Readings in Christian humanism. Fortress Press, 1982.
  • Zimmermann, Jens. Humanism and Religion: A Call for the Renewal of Western Culture. Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Zimmermann, Jens. Re-Envisioning Christian Humanism. Oxford University Press, 2017.

External links

  • No Christian humanism? Big mistake., Online Catholics, by Peter Fleming. (Accessed 6 May 2012)
  • "Christian Humanist". Arthur G. Broadhurst.
Academy of Christian Humanism University

The Academy of Christian Humanism University (UAHC) (Spanish: Universidad Academia de Humanismo Cristiano) is a Chilean non-profit private university, founded in 1988 but whose origins date back to 1975 when establishing the Academy of Christian Humanism, led by Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez (SDB), whose purpose was to bring together a group of intellectuals to discuss the politics, society, economy and culture of Chile.

This university, also known simply as La Academia (The Academy) is accredited in the areas of Institutional Management and Undergraduate Studies by the National Commission on Accreditation, an organization that ensures the quality of higher education in Chile, for a period of 3 years from December 2008 and December 2011. It, along with the Andrés Bello and Diego Portales University was awarded research funds from the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (FONDECYT) program's regular contest of 2009.

The University now offers 21 courses leading to diploma and degree graduates, special programs and 9 master's programs in the areas of Social Sciences, Education, Arts and Culture, State, Economy and Management, and also a Ph.D. in Education with twenty years of experience.

Christianity in the 15th century

The 15th century is part of the High Middle Ages, the period from the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 to the close of the 15th century, which saw the fall of Constantinople (1453), the end of the Hundred Years War (1453), the discovery of the New World (1492), and thereafter the Protestant Reformation (1515). It also marked the later years of scholasticism and the growth of Christian humanism and other developments of the early Renaissance.

Coalition for Change

The Coalition for Change was a presidential and parliamentary electoral coalition that groups the supporters of President Sebastián Piñera for the 2009-2010 Chilean election. Its predecessor was the Alliance for Chile (Alianza por Chile). The constituent parties are the Independent Democratic Union (Unión Demócrata Independiente), National Renewal (Renovación Nacional), ChileFirst (ChilePrimero), the movements Grand North (Norte Grande), and Christian Humanism (Humanista Cristiano). This coalition speech aspired to leave behind divisions that have polarized Chilean society, and his objective was to work together for the future of Chile by creating a democracy representative of the diverse creeds with respect, tolerance and friendship.

Cumming metro station

Cumming is an underground metro station on the Line 5 of the Santiago Metro, in Santiago, Chile. It is located underneath Catedral street in the commune of Santiago, between metro stations Quinta Normal and Santa Ana.

The station opened on March 31, 2004, along with Quinta Normal station. A ghost station, Libertad, lies between Quinta Normal and Cumming station.

The station is located in the heart of Barrio Brasil, a lively neighborhood known for its cultural scene, near the Brasil campus of the Academy of Christian Humanism University, the Alberto Hurtado University and the Alonso de Ercilla Institute. At the entrance to the station lies the Iglesia de los Capuchinos, a church built in the Neoclassic Greco-Roman style.The station has disability access. Shotcrete was used for primary and secondary lining of the tunnels. The walls on the platform level and the mezzanine level ceiling feature perforated aluminum panels. A glazed street-level pavilion, which features shade devices, provides access to the station.

David López Ribes

David Lopez Ribes (born June 27, 1972 in Valencia, Spain) is a Spanish painter and multidisciplinary artist. He lives and works in Valencia.

His studies took place at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, UPV between 1991 and 1995, and at the School of Visual Arts in New York City during 2003.

David Lopez Ribes is the winner of the Pontifical Academies Prize 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI, for his contribution to Christian Humanism on the contemporary.

Devotio Moderna

Devotio Moderna, or Modern Devotion, was a movement for religious reform, calling for apostolic renewal through the rediscovery of genuine pious practices such as humility, obedience, and simplicity of life. It began in the late fourteenth-century, largely through the work of Gerard Groote, and flourished in the Low Countries and Germany in the fifteenth century, but came to an end with the Protestant Reformation. It is most known today through its influence on Thomas à Kempis, the author of The Imitation of Christ, a book which proved highly influential for centuries.

Humanism (disambiguation)

Humanism may refer to ethical philosophies such as

Religious humanism, an integration of humanist ethical philosophy with religious rituals and beliefs

Christian humanism, a philosophy that combines Christian ethics and humanist principles

Humanistic Judaism, a movement in Judaism that offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life

Secular humanism, embraces humanism while rejecting religious aspectsHumanism may also refer to:

Renaissance humanism, an intellectual movement based on reviving Greek and Roman knowledge

Classical humanism, the cultivation of Greco-Roman legacies (not limited to Renaissance times)

Civic Humanism, a form of republicanism inspired by the writings of classical antiquity

Humanism (philosophy of education), a theory based on generation of knowledge, meaning and expertise

Humanities, a group of academic disciplines and the educational philosophy associated with them

Pragmatism in the terminology of F.S.C. Schiller

Marxist Humanism, a more liberal form of Marxism

Neohumanism, a holistic philosophical theory elaborated by Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar

New Humanism, a literary criticism term associated with Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More

Incarnational humanism

Incarnational humanism is a brand of Christian humanism which places central importance on the Incarnation, the belief that Jesus Christ was truly and fully human. In this context, divine revelation from God is seen as untrustworthy precisely because it is exempt from the vagaries of human discourse. It is God’s descent into human nature which allows humans to ascend to the divine. "If God speaks to us in the language of humanity, then we must interpret Gods speech as we interpret the language of humanity." Incarnational humanism asserts a unification of the secular and the sacred with the goal of a common humanity. This unification is fully realized in the participatory nature of Christian sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. The recognition of this goal requires a necessary difference between the church and the world, where both "spheres are unified in their service of humanity." Critics suggest it is quite wrong to establish a separate theology of the incarnation, and that proponents tend to abstract Jesus from his life and message.

Integral humanism

Integral Humanism may refer to:

Integral humanism (Maritain), an aspect of Catholic social teaching originally advocated by French philosopher Jacques Maritain as "Integral Christian Humanism"

Integral humanism (India), the political philosophy practised by the Bharatiya Janata Party and the former Bharatiya Jana Sangh of India

Integral humanism (Maritain)

Jacques Maritain, the French Catholic philosopher and author of over 60 books, advocated what he called "Integral Christian Humanism". He argued that secular forms of humanism were inevitably anti-human in that they refused to recognize the whole person.

Once the spiritual dimension of human nature is rejected, Maritain has argued that we no longer have an integral, but merely partial, humanism, one which rejects a fundamental aspect of the human person. Accordingly, in Integral Humanism he explores the prospects for a new Christendom, rooted in his philosophical pluralism, in order to find ways Christianity could inform political discourse and policy in a pluralistic age. In this account he develops a theory of cooperation, to show how people of different intellectual positions can nevertheless cooperate to achieve common practical aims. Maritain's political theory was extremely influential, and was a primary source behind the Christian Democratic movement.

Islamic monarchy

Islamic monarchies are a type of Islamic state which are monarchies. Historically known by various names, such as Mamlakah ("Kingdom"), Caliphate, Sultanate, or Emirate, current Islamic monarchies include:

Kingdom of Morocco

Kingdom of Bahrain

Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Sultanate of Oman

Monarchies of Malaysia

Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace

State of Kuwait

State of Qatar

United Arab Emirates

John Colet

John Colet (January 1467 – 16 September 1519) was an English churchman and educational pioneer.

John Colet, friend of Erasmus, was an English scholar, Renaissance humanist, theologian, member of the Worshipful Company of Mercers, and Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, London. Colet wanted people to see the scripture as their guide through life. Furthermore, he wanted to restore theology and rejuvenate Christianity. Colet is an important early leader of Christian humanism as he linked humanism and reform. John Colet was a friend of Erasmus, a key figure in Christian humanism.


Titus Lucretius Carus (; c. 15 October 99 BC – c. 55 BC) was a Roman poet and philosopher. His only known work is the philosophical poem De rerum natura, a didactic work about the tenets and philosophy of Epicureanism, and which is usually translated into English as On the Nature of Things. Lucretius has been credited with originating the concept of the three-age system which was formalised in 1836 by C. J. Thomsen.

Very little is known about Lucretius's life; the only certain fact is that he was either a friend or client of Gaius Memmius, to whom the poem was addressed and dedicated.De rerum natura was a considerable influence on the Augustan poets, particularly Virgil (in his Aeneid and Georgics, and to a lesser extent on the Eclogues) and Horace. The work virtually disappeared during the Middle Ages, but was rediscovered in 1417 in a monastery in Germany by Poggio Bracciolini and it played an important role both in the development of atomism (Lucretius was an important influence on Pierre Gassendi) and the efforts of various figures of the Enlightenment era to construct a new Christian humanism. Lucretius's scientific poem "On the Nature of Things" (c. 60 BC) has a remarkable description of Brownian motion of dust particles in verses 113–140 from Book II. He uses this as a proof of the existence of atoms.

Michael Massing

Michael Massing is an American writer based in New York City. He is a former executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. He received a bachelor's degree from Harvard College and a master's degree from the London School of Economics. He often writes for the New York Review of Books on the media, politics, and foreign affairs. He has also written for The American Prospect, The New York Times, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Politico, and The Atlantic. His book The Fix offers a critique of the U.S. war on drugs. Now They Tell Us: The American Press and Iraq is a collection of articles which first appeared in The New York Review of Books and analyzes the press coverage of the Iraq war. A later book, Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind, concerns the rivalry between those two men and the movements they represented—Christian humanism and evangelical Christianity. Massing is co-founder of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and currently sits on its board. He is also a board member of the Alicia Patterson Foundation. In 1992, he was named a MacArthur Fellow, and in 2011 he was a fellow at the Leon Levy Biography Center at the City University of New York Graduate Center.

Raised in Baltimore, Massing attended the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.


Staplefield is a village in the Mid Sussex District of West Sussex, England, situated 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north-west of Haywards Heath on the B2114 road. It is part of Ansty and Staplefield civil parish where the 2011 Census population information is included.

The Anglican parish church built in 1847 is dedicated to St. Mark and contains wall paintings by the Victorian stained glass designer Charles Eamer Kempe. In 1994, Reverend Anthony Freeman, vicar of St Mark's was dismissed by the Bishop of Chichester, Eric Kemp, when he stated that he didn't believe in God and published his book God in Us: A Case for Christian Humanism. He is currently managing editor of The Journal of Consciousness Studies.The village also has a Roman Catholic church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima.

There are two public houses, The Jolly Tanners and The Victory Inn, the latter is named after the legal victory in gaining permission to be a pub not after Horatio Nelson's flagship, Victory, despite his sister, Catherine Matcham, living in nearby Slaugham. The pub sign shows a picture of a judge and a document inside the pub shows details of the case. There is also a red park next to the pubs. The pubs are adjacent to the village green and cricket pitch.

Teresa Núñez

Teresa Mercedes del Carmen Núñez Cornejo (born 10 September 1965) is a Chilean public administrator and politician. Núñez was the Governor of Cardenal Caro Province from 2014 to 2018.

Todos (political party)

Todos (lit. All) is a political party in Guatemala.

William of Conches

William of Conches (c. 1090 – after 1154) was a French scholastic philosopher who sought to expand the bounds of Christian humanism by studying secular works of the classics and fostering empirical science. He was a prominent member of the School of Chartres. John of Salisbury, a bishop of Chartres and former student of William's, refers to William as the most talented grammarian after Bernard of Chartres.

Concepts in religion
Conceptions of God
Existence of God
Religious language
Problem of evil
Philosophersof religion

(by date active)
Related topics

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.