Monday, 1 September 2014

Genteel Humanism

I notice the word ‘humanist’ being used by Americans to refer to those that study the humanities and regard the liberal arts generally as a source of the values that form civilisation. Is it a revival of the Renaissance usage which with its opposition to Scholasticism had a secular cast? Modern British usage of the term ‘humanist’ retains this and has displaced the need to attach the qualifier ‘secular’.

Is this an American ‘genteelism’ or may we see in it the continuous attempt to banish religious values to the margins? Very likely both I think.

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