2.1 Humanism

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Slide 1: Woordweb
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In deze les zitten 29 slides, met interactieve quizzen en tekstslides.

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Slide 1 - Woordweb

Lesson objectives
Understand the Renaissance idea of Humanism 
Recognize Petrarch and Erasmus as Renaissance Humanists

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

What do you already know about the Renaissance?

Slide 3 - Woordweb

Renaissance (1400-1600)
- Rebirth of Greek and Roman culture
- Observing and studying humans and nature
- Realism in art: perspective, depth, human form (nudity)
- No longer only ordered by the church and by kings

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

  • For hundreds of years, the Catholic Church had been the main religion in Europe. 
  • But all of this was about to change at the end of the Middle Ages. 
  • More and more people began to wonder if some of the Catholic Church’s practices were truly Christian or not.
  • The first men to do this were called humanists.

Slide 5 - Tekstslide

Renaissance humanism.
  • Starting in the fourteenth century, the Renaissance revived ancient Greek and Roman ideas.
  • A humanist was a person who believed in education and especially classical learning. 
  • Like many people in the Renaissance, they were inspired by the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. They started looking at the earliest Bible texts they could find and re-translated these as accurately as they could.
  • These showed many translation mistakes and extra rules added by the Catholic Church.

Slide 6 - Tekstslide

The suffix -ism appears in many loanwords from the Greek language. It is often used when speaking about ideologies or philosophies. Can you think of other words ending with -ism?

Slide 7 - Open vraag

Humanists emphasized individual accomplishment. They believed that the potential of the human mind was almost limitless.

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

- Looked at ancient bible texts
- Discovered a lot of errors in translations
- Argued for change within the Church

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

Petrarch: father of Humanism

  • One of the Renaissance humanists was an Italian named Petrarch (1304-1374)
  • He wrote in the vernacular, or everyday language of the people. In the past, most writing had been done in formal Latin.
  • Petrarch had one of the biggest collections of Greek and Roman texts in Europe at that time. 

Slide 10 - Tekstslide

  • Petrarch was well known for his work in rediscovering ancient Greek texts and translating ancient Bible texts.
  • In his book De Remediis Utriusque Fortuneae (‘Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul’) he said that leading a life that was as simple as possible, like monks do, does not mean your relationship with God is better or closer.
  • Instead he believed that God wanted humans to use the intelligence, curiosity and creativity they had been given by God as much as possible.


Slide 11 - Tekstslide

  • In Petrarch’s opinion, nothing showed this curiosity and creativity more than rediscovering ancient texts and translating them. 

  • Although his work showed a lot of mistakes made by the Church, Petrarch was still a dedicated member of the Church and saw no issue between his work and the Church he was part of.

Slide 12 - Tekstslide

What was Renaissance Humanism?
People started treating animals more humanely
A philosophy of putting the human experience central
A religion in where humans were gods
A subgroup of artists who only drew humans

Slide 13 - Quizvraag

What is the difference between Petrach’s beliefs about the relationship between God and men and how people thought
about this in medieval times?

Slide 14 - Open vraag

Slide 15 - Tekstslide

Read the following facts about renaissance humanism and Petrach. Think whether they are a change or continuity, when compared to medieval times.
Petrach believed that people should worship God by using the gifts he has given them.
The Catholic Church was incredibly important in people’s lives.
People were educated enough to find mistakes made in the
Bible by the Catholic Church.

Slide 16 - Sleepvraag

Write down something you have learned today and something you would like to know more about/ something still unclear

Slide 17 - Woordweb

Erasmus: criticizing the excesses of the Church

  • In the 16th century, many humanists in the Church spent a lot of time translating biblical texts and early Christian texts. They were trying to get a better understanding of what these texts were about and what they meant. 
  • One of the people doing so was Desiderius Erasmus

Slide 18 - Tekstslide

  • Living between 1466 and 1536, Erasmus was a Catholic priest in Rotterdam. He was highly educated. 
  • Despite being a priest, Erasmus spent most of his life as an influential critic of the Catholic Church. 
  • One of the things he is most famous for is his book The Praise of Folly, a satire       with which he confronted superstitions and other believes in Europe and the Catholic Church itself
the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

Erasmus believed in a simpler, more personal relationship between people and God, and criticized excesses in the Church. 
  1. He wanted the Church to stop pardoning people’s sins, because in his opinion only God could do this.  
  2. He wanted the Church to stop teaching people to believe in saints and relics, and to stop telling them to go on pilgrimages.
  3. He wanted the Church to translate the Bible into a vernacular, instead of keeping it in Latin. This means: translating it into different native languages so people could read the Bible themselves.

Slide 20 - Tekstslide

Questioning the Church

  • Erasmus criticized the church publicly. How did the Church react, and what consequences did this have? 
  • The Church offered him a place as a bishop, trying to keep him quiet. 
  • Erasmus however did not take this position and continued to call for reform within the Church. He did not wish to break away from it. 
  • His ideas, however, did prepare the way for the Reformation.  “Erasmus laid the egg that Luther hatched.”

Slide 21 - Tekstslide

Name two points in which Erasmus criticizes the Catholic Church.
Belief in relics and Jezus
Belief in relics and translating the bible
Pardoning people's sins and going to church
Pardoning people's sins & belief in relics

Slide 22 - Quizvraag

Look at the source. Explain why this source can be used to demonstrate Erasmus’ criticism of the Catholic Church.

Slide 23 - Tekstslide

Look at the source. Explain why this source can be used to demonstrate Erasmus’ criticism of the Catholic Church.

Slide 24 - Open vraag

What doesn't match humanism
Taking for granted everything the pope says.
Studying ancient texts
Criticism of the Church

Slide 25 - Quizvraag

What doesn't match humanism
Life after death is most important
Studying ancient texts
Criticism of the Church

Slide 26 - Quizvraag

How was Humanism different from the way most people thought before the Renaissance?

Slide 27 - Open vraag


Humanism is a human-centred set of ideas in which people believe in the classical values of education and research. 
Christian humanists started having a closer look at old Bible texts, and found issues with the behaviour of the Catholic Church. 
Men like Petrarch and Erasmus  would criticise the Church greatly, but always called for internal reform.

Slide 28 - Tekstslide

What questions do you still have? What would you like to learn more about?

Slide 29 - Open vraag