Barbarian to Humanist

Topics: François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, Humanism Pages: 4 (1370 words) Published: November 19, 2012
Kimberly Kurata
HI 30

Barbarian to Humanist

Francois Rabelais wrote, Gargantua in the 16th century as a satirical short story depicting a giant named Gargantua and his transition from his barbaric ways to civilized humanistic way of living. The story takes place during the time of transition from the Medieval Era to the Renaissance. It went from a time of scholasticism and monasticism to a time of humanism and secularism. The Renaissance gave the modern world secularism, humanism and individualism. Throughout the story we see Gargantua evolve into a respectable and honorable man and Frere Jean as a monk who defies all previous views of who and what a monk is. The story of Gargantua illustrates the transition from scholasticism to humanism and in a satirical account through the lives of Gargantua and Frere Jean’s.

Humanism can be defined as the cultural intellectual way of thinking that focuses on human beings exposing themselves to their own potential. This way of thinking emerged during the time of the Renaissance. It was the new movement to broaden an individual's narrow seeking mind. Scholasticism was the scholarship that went on in monasteries where the tradition was the study and focus on only theological issues. Before humanism rose, scholasticism was the only type of higher education. Scholasticism consisted of memorizing texts and focusing on obscure questions. Humanists criticized and completely rejected this form of living. The humanist’s core value can be summond up in one description by Leonardo DaVinci, “Luomo Universale”,the universal man is interested in everything, not one thing.

Gargantua’s early life can be described as a medieval type of living. He was birthed, “As a result of that mishap, the cotyledonary veins of the womb were released from above and the child sprang through the midriff (which is situated above the shoulders where the aforesaid vena divides into two) took the left path and emerged through her left ear.”[1]...
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