Humanism is defined as a literary movement that occurred during the Renaissance. Although it was understood to be the same thing throughout Europe, the Italians and the northerners conceived it differently. Some of the more important northern humanists include John Calvin, Thomas More in England, and Erasmus of Rotterdam. The Christian humanism of the north is easily distinguished with the "pagan" humanism of Italy. In the north, humanists studied the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible and read the Church Fathers so that they could further understand Christianity and restore its moral vitality. They generally regarded universities as centers of pedantic, monkish, and "scholastic" learning. These universities gave little interest to experimental science or even literary studies. The Italian humanists wrote in Latin, but often complained that it had become monkish, "scholastic", and in some ways useless. The schools in Italy preferred the more classical style of Cicero or Livy. Francesco Petrarca, or Petracrch, is known as the first man of letters. He criticized both the law and the clergy relentlessly. Lorenzo Valla became one of the founders for textual criticism and of his many accomplishments he proved the Donation of Constantine a forgery.
The most important element of the northern Renaissance was... [continues]
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