Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

George, Charles H. (Charles Hilles), 1922-||Bowen, Ralph Henry, 1919-

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of History


Humanism; Great Britain--History--Tudors; 1485-1603


Humanism was a literary and intellectual movement which represented an.extensive change in the nature of European art, literature, and thought. This evolving cultural movement began in Western Europe at the close of the Middle Ages. Historians of intellectual thought believe that humanism was an outcome of the Renaissance and in some cases humanism and Renaissance had a literary etymology. In this paper we have considered humanism as a revival of the classic literature which had for its aim to call man to the wisdom of the ancient world. The purpose of choosing the topic of humanism was to discover what the impact of humanism was upon English religious culture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. More specifically, our purpose was to analyze the influence of humanism on the English reformers. To investigate the conflict between humanism and the reformers, or rather the conflict with Protestantism, we selected Erasmus as the representative of humanism in England. Through his academic career in England and his letters and other works we discovered the main philosophical differences between humanism and the main ideologies of the Protestant reformers. From the study of this thesis, we arrived at four main conclusions. First, that Erasmian humanism in England was a rather weak element In the intellectual and religious history of the sixteenth century. Secondly, that the battle of literary humanism was not necessarily fought in England but on the Continent by the products of the Protestant press. Thirdly, that Erasmian humanism as a zeitgeist ended with the advent of the scientific world of Francis Bacon. Fourthly, that humanism in Erasmus heralded a later age, which can be found in the spirit of religious tolerance, the deistic spirit of seventeenth century England and the new interpretation of man and society by the French philosophers of the eighteenth century. The procedures of this thesis were by induction from the primitive meanings of humanism to its function in English society, to its consequences for the modern world. The paper was divided into definitions, interpretations, historical background, influences and results.


Includes bibliographical references.


v, 71 pages




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