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THE HUMANISTIC EDUCATION
By the fourteenth century there appeared an intellectual awakening, known as the Renaissance. It was accompanied by a ‘revival of learning' and an education called 'humanistic.'
Italy first showed evidence of the new movement. The characteristics of the Renaissance were embodied in Petrarch and Boccaccio, but little was done with the Greek classics until Chrysoloras came from Constantinople.
The tyrants of various cities often had humanistic schools started at their courts. Of these the most typical was that under Vittorino da Feltre. These schools eventually forced the universities to admit the humanities to their course. But humanism gradually degenerated into 'Ciceronianism.'
Humanistic education also gradually spread to the countries north of Italy, but it there took on more of a moral color. In France, the protection of Francis I encouraged the introduction of humanism into educational institutions by various scholars. The German universities likewise began to respond to humanistic influences.
The Hieronymians first introduced the classics into the schools, and Erasmus, who was trained by them, became the leader in humanistic education. Through other humanistic schools started by Sturm and others, the 'gymnasium,' the typical classical school of Germany, was evolved, and the humanistic education became fixed and formal.
In England the movement gradually developed at Oxford and Cambridge, and Colet started St. Paul's school, which became the model for all secondary schools. Humanism in England, however,
soon retrograded into a formalism, and the 'grammar' and 'public' schools there are little changed to-day.
The first secondary schools in the American colonies were mod. eled after the grammar schools of the mother country.
Mediævalism contained the
The Passing of the Middle Ages.-It can now be seen that a new spirit had crept into European civilization, and that the Middle Ages were passing. We have previously noted (pp. 53f.) that, in order to bring the German barbarians up to the level of the past, it was necessary for the Church to set an authoritative standard and repress all variation on the part of the individual. Yet such bondage of the human spirit was unnatural, and there were periodic tendencies to rebel against the system. In fact, mediævalism contained within itself the germ of its own germ of its own emancipation. During the eighth century there came about a new political order, which culminated in Charlemagne's revival of education. While conditions were never again as desperate after this stimulus, with the disruption of Charlemagne's empire another decline set in. But by the thirteenth century a new revival, material and intellectual, had also appeared. Several developments gave evidence of the expansion within, and assisted in producing it. The broadening of horizon through contact with the Moors, the development of scholasticism, the evolution of universities, the worldly appeal of chivalry, and the growth of cities, gilds, and commerce were all helping by accumulation to dispel the medieval spirit.
And by the fourteenth century a new dawn had been ushered in. The period that followed was marked by a general intellectual and cultural progress that began to free men from their bondage to ecclesiasticism and to
induce them to look at the world about them. The adherence to an 'otherworldly' ideal, the restriction The general of learning, the reception of the teachings of the Church the Awakening without investigation, and the conformity of the individual were by this time rapidly disappearing. Such tendencies were clearly being replaced by a genuine joy in the life of this world, a broader field of knowledge and thought, a desire to reason and deal with all ideas more critically, and enlarged ideals of individualism. The days of mere absorption and assimilation had passed.
moted by the
The Renaissance and the Revival of Learning.This tremendous widening of horizon has been generally known as the Renaissance or 'new birth.' The term is While the Renaissance was used to indicate that the spirit of the Græco-Roman caused by indevelopment had returned, and that opportunity for ex- it was propression was granted to the individual once more. But this period is also appropriately known as the 'Revival of Learning.' For, while the awakening preceded and was caused by internal factors, rather than by the recovery of classical literature and learning, intellectual freedom was very greatly heightened and forwarded after a restoration of the classics once began. The only food at hand that could satisfy the awakened intelligence of the times was the literature and culture of the classical peoples. The discovery that the writings of the ancient world were filled with a genuine vitality and virility, and that the old authors had dealt with world problems in a profound and masterly fashion, and with far more vision than had ever been possible for the mediævalists, gave rise to an eager desire and enthusiasm for the classics that went beyond all bounds. A knowledge of classical literature had never altogether