humanism

Erasmus of Rotterdam – Prince of the Humanists

Erasmus of Rotterdam – Prince of the Humanists

On October 27, 1466,  Dutch Renaissance humanist, Catholic priest, social critic, teacher, and theologian Desiderius Erasmus Roterdamus, also known as Erasmus of Rotterdam was born. He was the dominant figure of the early-16th-century humanist movement. Besides others, he is also namesake of the European Erasmus funding programme, the world’s largest support programme for stays abroad at universities that financed about 1 million scholarships in its first 15 years. “No Man is wise at all…
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Marsilio Ficino and his Florentine Academy

Marsilio Ficino and his Florentine Academy

On October 19, 1433, Italian scholar and Catholic priest Marsilio Ficino was born. He was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. With his translations and commentaries he contributed significantly to the knowledge of Plato and Platonism in his epoch and made the writings of ancient Greek-speaking authors accessible to the Latin-speaking public. His understanding of Plato, influenced by Plotin‘s Neoplatonism, became groundbreaking for the early modern…
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Nikolaus of Cusa and the Learned Ignorance

Nikolaus of Cusa and the Learned Ignorance

On August 11, 1464, German philosopher, theologian, jurist, and astronomer Nikolaus of Cusa (in latin: Nicolaus Cusanus) passed away. He is considered as one of the first German proponents of Renaissance humanism. His best known work is entiteled ‘De Docta Ignorantia‘ (Of the Learned Ignorance), where also most of his mathematical ideas were developed, as e.g. the trial of squaring the circle or calculating the circumference of a circle from its radius. “In…
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Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

On July 20, 1304, Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) was born. He is considered to be one of the earliest humanists and also the “father of the Renaissance.” Petrarch’s sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages”. “I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and…
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Sebastian Brant and the Ship of Fools

Sebastian Brant and the Ship of Fools

On May 10, 1521, German humanist and satirist Sebastian Brant passed away. He is best known for his book of satire entitled ‘Das Narrenschiff” (The Ship of Fools) published in 1494 in Basel, Switzerland. It is most likely that you might have never heard of Brant nor of his famous book. Anyway, if you continue reading, you won’t regret… “die weltt die will betrogen syn” (The world wants to be betrayed.) – Sebastian…
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Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

On March 8, 1931, media theorist, author, and cultural critic Neil Postman was born. He is best known for his works criticizing the increase of the role of technology in every human’s life not seeing the dangerous side effects. By the time I was an undergraduate student of computer science, his famous book Amusing Ourselves to Death was brand new and subject of our course “Computer and Society”. “Writing freezes speech and in so doing…
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Pietro Bembo and the Development of the Italian Language

Pietro Bembo and the Development of the Italian Language

On May 20, 1470,  Italian scholar, poet, literary theorist, member of the Knights Hospitaller and cardinal Pietro Bembo was born. Bembo was an influential figure in the development of the Italian language, specifically Tuscan, as a literary medium, codifying the language for standard modern usage. His writings assisted in the 16th-century revival of interest in the works of Petrarch. “Love can only be conquered by flight.” — Pietro Bembo Offspring of a Prestigious…
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Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

Conrad Gessner’s Truly Renaissance Knowledge

On March 26, 1516, Swiss naturalist and bibliographer Conrad Gessner was born. His five-volume Historiae animalium (1551–1558) is considered the beginning of modern zoology, and the flowering plant genus Gesneria is named after him. He is considered as one of the most important natural scientists of Switzerland and was sometimes referred to as the ‘German Pliny‘. The Godson and Protege of Zwingli Conrad Gessner was born and educated in Zürich, Switzerland as the…
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Francisco de Enzinas and the Translation of the New Testament

Francisco de Enzinas and the Translation of the New Testament

On December 30, 1552, classical scholar, translator, author, and Protestant apologist of Spanish origin Francisco de Enzinas, also known by the humanist name Francis Dryander, passed away. De Enzinas was the first to translate the New Testament from Greek to Spanish. Early Years Francisco de Enzinas was born in Burgos, Spain, probably on 1 November 1518, as one of ten children of the successful wool merchant Juan de Enzinas and his wife…
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Giambattista Vico and the Scienza Nuova

Giambattista Vico and the Scienza Nuova

On June 23, 1668, Italian political philosopher, rhetorician, historian, and jurist Giambattista Vico was born. An apologist of classical antiquity, Vico is best known for his magnum opus, the Scienza Nuova of 1725, often published in English as The New Science, in which he attempted to bring about the convergence of history, from the one side, and the more systematic social sciences, from the other, so that their interpenetration could form a single…
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