Norfolk State University
Defining the Humanities
Submitted by: Julian Hicks
August 28, 2011
Mr. Gerald E. Thompson, Instructor
Humanities is the study of language, philosophy, communication, environment, history, religion, sociology, arts, culture, education and ethics. The word humanities originally comes from the Latin word, “humanus.” The word humanus means “human.” To be “human” is to possess the qualities and attributes of man. Being human also has the feelings and dispositions proper to man. However, humanities as the study of the different cultural aspects analyzes man’s weaknesses in life and how each can be improved. Culture includes speech, knowledge, beliefs, arts, technologies, ideals, and rules. To be cultured means to be refined and well versed in arts, philosophy, and the languages. It is also to be learned about great men and leaders in the past. Culture should regulate the type of behavior considered appropriate to an individual. Its teaching is essential for one to obtain the proper knowledge in his efforts to achieve the status of being a cultured man. On the other hand, understanding man and his affairs rather than just a body of accepted facts and theories is a purpose for humanities. It has various meanings in different historical periods, but it is only the same. This sums up to remind everyone about humanity. Humanities dealt with philosophy and theology in the 12th, 13th centuries and Renaissance period. This was the study of disciplines among languages, fine arts, music, and philosophy. Recognizing literature defined humanities in the past. There were different types of performing arts such as music, dance, theatre, philosophy, and religion. Humanities supported various categories of literature. Each and every one of these types were study academically.in the early centuries. Humanities is still an ongoing study of today and the future.
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