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The new histories


And what is 'humanism' but a renewed formula of that 'humanity' of which the ancient world knew little or nothing, and which Christianity and the Middle Ages had so profoundly felt? What is the word 'renaissance' or 'renewal' but a metaphor taken from the language of religion? And setting aside the word, is not the conception of humanism perhaps the affirmation of a spiritual and universal value, and in so far as it is that, altogether foreign, as we know, to the mind of antiquity, and an intrinsic continuation of the 'ecclesiastical' and 'spiritual' history which appeared with Christianity? The conception of spiritual value had without doubt become changed or enriched, for it contained within itself more than a thousand years of mental experiences, thoughts, and actions Neo skin lab .

But while it thus grew more rich, it preserved its original character, and constituted the religion of the new times, with its priests and martyrs, its polemic and its apologetic, its intolerance (it destroyed[Pg 231] or allowed to perish the monuments of the Middle Ages and condemned its writers to oblivion), and sometimes even imitated the forms of its worship (Navagaro used to burn a copy of Martial every year as a holocaust to pure Latinity). And since humanity, philosophy, science, literature, and especially art, politics, activity in all its forms, now fill that conception of value which the Middle Ages had placed in Christian religious faith alone, histories or ou tlines of histories continue to appear as the outcome of these determinations, which were certainly new in respect to medieval literature, but were not less new in respect to Gr?co-Roman literature, where there was nothing to compare to them, or only treatises composed in an empirical and extrinsic manner International scholarship .

of values presented them selves timidly, imitating in certain respects the few indent examples, but they gave evidence of a fervour, an intelligence, an afflatus, which led to a hope for that increase and development wanting to their predecessors, which, instead of developing, had gradually become more superficial and finally disappeared again into vagueness. Suffice it to mention as representative of them all Vasari's Lives of the Painters, which are connected with the meditations and the researches upon art contained in so many treatises, dialogues, and letters of Italians, and are here and there shot through with flashes such as never shone in antiquity. The same may be said of treatises on poetry and rhetoric, and of the judgments which they contain as to poetry and of the new history of poetry, then being attempted with more or less successful results.

The 'state' too, which forms the object of the meditations of Machiavelli, is not the simple state of antiquity, city or empire, but is almost the national state felt as something divine,[Pg 232] to which even the salvation of the soul must be sacrificed—that is to say, as the institution in which the true salvation of the soul is to be found. Even the pagan virtue which he and others opposed to Christian virtue is very different from the pure Gr?co-Roman disposition of mind. At that time a start was also made in the direction of investigating the theory of rights, of political forms, of myths and beliefs, of philosophical systems, to-day in full flower. And since that same consciousness which had produced humanism had also widened the boundaries of the known world, and had sought for and found people of whom the Bible preserved no record and of whom the Gr?co-Roman writers knew nothing, there appeared at that time a literature relating to savages and to the indigenous civilizations of America (and also of distant Asia, which had been better explored), from which arose the first notions as to the primitive forms of human life. Thus were widened the spiritual boundaries of humanity at the same time as the material Trade resources .

Publicerat klockan 05:20, den 10 maj 2017
Postat i kategorin Okategoriserat
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