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Review Article: ‘Renaissance Humanism: Foundations, Forms, and Legacy’

  • William J. Bouwsma (a1)


The idea for this massive work (3 vols. [Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988], xv + 492, 414, and 692 pp.) originated in a course on Renaissance humanism at Barnard College and Columbia University in the spring semester of 1979, supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and taught by the editor of the work, Professor Albert Rabil, Jr., with Professor Maristella Lorch. They agreed that recent scholarship concerned with Renaissance humanism made a new “synthesis” desirable, but that the sheer quantity of this new work put such a project beyond the competence of any individual scholar. The three volumes under review consist, therefore, of forty-one essays, mostly written specifically for them, by almost the same number of specialists. These essays were then organized into three volumes entitled, respectively, Humanism in Italy, humanism beyond Italy, and Humanism and the Disciplines.



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1. What follows is based on Bouwsma, William J., “The Spirituality of Renaissance Humanism,”in Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation, ed. Raitt, Jill (New York, 1987), pp. 236251. This work may be consulted for illustration and documentation of what follows.

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Church History
  • ISSN: 0009-6407
  • EISSN: 1755-2613
  • URL: /core/journals/church-history
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