Chapter 4. Humanism: Renovation or Innovation? Transmission or Reception?

  1. William Caferro

Published Online: 4 JUN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324501.ch4

Contesting the Renaissance

Contesting the Renaissance

How to Cite

Caferro, W. (2010) Humanism: Renovation or Innovation? Transmission or Reception?, in Contesting the Renaissance, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324501.ch4

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 JUN 2010
  2. Published Print: 2 JUL 2010

Book Series:

  1. Contesting the Past

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405123693

Online ISBN: 9781444324501



  • humanism, renovation or innovation - transmission or reception;
  • humanism, at the core of the Renaissance debate;
  • humanist interest in grammar and rhetoric - from medieval tradition of dictatores;
  • For Kristeller, style and eloquence - giving humanism its distinctive quality;
  • humanism, retaining its importance - as a distinctive Renaissance development, narrowing the gap with the Middle Ages;
  • Florentine Angelo Poliziano, emphasis on philology in his works with Greek texts;
  • movement of humanist ideas, aided by invention of the printing press - bringing classical and humanist texts to readers;
  • Florentine and Italian humanism - humanist tradition in Florence, a singularly rich one;
  • humanism in Northern Europe - northern humanism, having its own distinct features;
  • humanists and philosophers, sharing the same texts - the philosopher searching for truth and wisdom, and the humanist for eloquence


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Humanism and Scholasticism

  • Philology, History, and the Search for Manuscripts

  • An Educational Revolution?

  • Transmission and Reception

  • Florentine and Italian Humanism

  • Humanism in Northern Europe

  • Imitation as Innovation