Transcript: 332. Jill Kraye on Humanism

Jill Kraye returns to the podcast to discuss the nature of humanism, its relation to scholasticism, and its legacy.

Note: this transcription was produced by automatic voice recognition software. It has been corrected by hand, but may still contain errors. We are very grateful to Tim Wittenborg for his production of the automated transcripts and for the efforts of a team of volunteer listeners who corrected the texts.

Peter Adamson: We're going to be talking about humanism, which is a term that actually wasn't used in the Renaissance, even though they did use similar phrases like studia humanitatis. And so I wanted to ask you, what have modern scholars meant by the word "humanism?" And are there any caveats we should be aware of, I mean, dangerous pitfalls in applying this word to the Renaissance?

Jill Kraye: Well, it is true that it's a modern coinage. It first appears with the meaning of study of the classical antiquity in the early 19th century in Germany, and then it quite rapidly spreads to England and other places. Matthew Arnold refers to knowledge of Greek and Roman antiquity as humanism. And there was a very important book by Georg Voigt that came out in the mid 19th century called The Revival of Classical Antiquity or the First Century of Humanism. It was in German, so it was "humanismus." But that really made that a kind of the formal term that everybody used. And I'm not, I didn't think this is such a problem that it's a modern coinage, because we use lots of modern coinages in philosophy. The pre-Socratics did not think of themselves as pre-Socratics. Plotinus didn't think of himself as a Neoplatonist. These are terms that were coined like humanism in the 19th century. But they stood the test of time. They proved useful. They seem to refer to an entity and a reality that that fits the evidence. And therefore, I think it's fine to use it as that to describe people. The question of what they describe and the definition is more problematic. And apart from studia humanitatis that you mentioned, which is a term that the humanists got mainly from Cicero, it comes in a very important bit in his speech Pro Archia, which Petrarch himself, the father of humanism, discovered and kind of publicized. So they didn't call themselves humanists, but they did call themselves people who were devoted to the studia humanitatis. And I think that's close enough. And also, there was a kind of in Italy, a university slang where whatever you taught, they put ista at the end. So if you taught law, you were a legista. And if you taught the arts, which is philosophy and medicine, you are an artista. If you taught canon law, you were a canonista. If you taught the abacus, you were an abacista. And humanista was a term that came in the late 15th century for a person who taught the studia humanitatis. So there is some justification. Now, the question of what is the definition is very, very fraught. And there are a large number of definitions and people don't agree with each other. But in the Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-American world, the most common and really the standard definition is one that was coined by Paul Oskar Kristeller, who was probably the greatest scholar of humanism in the 20th century, a German emigre who taught in America in the last half of his life. And he described humanists as professional rhetoricians and said that their remit was grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history and moral philosophy. And I think what he meant by this was these are the topics that were taught in universities, for the most part, by humanists. And I think this is not a bad definition. It's broadly true. The real question and the thing that I have argued against myself is moral philosophy.

Peter Adamson: I was just going to say that seems like a rather arbitrary...

Jill Kraye: It is. And he wrote several articles where he put that formula - where he expounded that formula, which has been repeated endlessly by scholars. The first article in which he wrote it has been called the single most important piece on humanism in the 20th century. So it's really influential. He put it in because he didn't want - he was arguing against Italian scholars who regarded humanism as the new philosophy of the Renaissance, as opposed to scholasticism, which was the old philosophy of the Middle Ages. And he wanted to say, 'no, this is not the equivalent.' They're doing something completely different. The problem was that some humanists did teach philosophy, but he wanted to kind of quarantine it by saying, 'but it was only moral philosophy that they taught.' And there is a small amount of evidence, particularly from the first part of the 15th century, that largely that was the area. But very soon it ceased to be the case. And there's a very famous example in the in the 1490s, the greatest humanist, the most learned humanist of the 15th century, Angelo Poliziano - Polician as he's known in English to English classicists, was teaching the normal stuff. He was teaching poetry and history. But then he decided he wanted to teach philosophy. He was a friend of Pico della Marandola. And that seems to have been who was Giovanni Pico was a philosopher and kind of pushed him in that direction. And he began by teaching the Nicomachean ethics. OK, fine. Moral philosophy. But then he switched and decided to give a course on the Organon. And the first one that he gave was on the Prior Analytics. This is logic and very technical logic. And therefore, and there was no sense in his - when he defended himself, because the philosophers at the University of Florence, where he was teaching, criticized him both as a teacher of ethics, by the way, and logic was that 'I'm not a philosopher. I'm not pretending to be a philosopher.' I am what he called the "grammatikus," that is, an interpreter, a philologist, an interpreter of text. And as an expert on antiquity, I can interpret any I can interpret any ancient text, whether it's medicine, which he wrote on, whether it's Roman law, whether it's philosophy. So he wasn't pretending to be a philosopher. But he was saying 'all of philosophy is part of my remit.' It's fair game. And really, I think from the late 15th century onwards, although many, many humanists did teach moral philosophy, they also engage quite a bit with all the whole range of moral of philosophy, the entire canon. You have Theodore Gaza, who was another late 15th century humanist. He was a Byzantine scholar, an emigre after the fall of Constantinople. And he taught natural philosophy. He did a very famous translation of the History of Animals by Aristotle. When Aldous did the Aldine Aristotle, Aldous Menutius, the great printer-scholar of the late 15th century, early 16th century, he did the Aldine Aristotle, the first Greek Aristotle. It was mainly structured around natural philosophy. And the very first person to teach Aristotle in Greek was a humanist named Niccolo Leonico Tomeo. And he was a specialist in natural philosophy, parva naturalia. So really, the idea that moral philosophy is somehow inherent in humanism is - if it was true, if it is true - maybe a little bit in the early 15th century. But after that, it really isn't. And I think because, and Kristeller, who coined this particular definition, knew that and was very aware of it. But the problem is, once you give a nice, neat definition and people can remember it and they just reel it off, then people start to assume that it has a reality that it doesn't. And I think that's the caveat, I would say, is that one needs to be careful. My definition of humanists would be that they're experts on antiquity with transferable skills, that is, skills that can be used for any discipline or any text that they want to use, which they can use in their effort to recover antiquity. That's really what humanists are about. They want to rediscover the text, also material artifacts and buildings and everything about antiquity. They want to recover it. They want to restore it. That is, restore text, but also restore statues, restore inscriptions. They want to reconstruct it, reconstruct Stoicism or other philosophical systems, and they want to revive it. They want to bring it into action.

Peter Adamson: One of the things you mentioned along the way there is this contrast between humanism and scholasticism. And I suppose that a lot of people, when they think about humanism, they'll think of it primarily as a contrast to scholasticism. And again, I'm wondering whether we should be careful with that idea, because although we do think of the humanists as being very critical of the scholastics - often for their terrible Latin, for example - it also seems like there are points of contact, maybe shared interests between the scholastics and the humanists. So can you say something about that contrast?

Jill Kraye: Any black and white contrast one should always be suspicious about. And it is true that the humanists - one of their favorite sports, is attacking the scholastics for their barbarous Latin, for their uncultivated presentation of material, for the fact that when you read a scholastic commentary, it's very repetitive, it's very boring, it's very structured. Humanists, because they're interested in reviving the style of philosophy of antiquity, are more interested in dialogues. They tend to think of Cicero as a great philosopher and his philosophical dialogues. They want it to be readable. They want it to be interesting. They want people to encourage people to engage with the ideas. I mean, Petrarch very famously said, I went to university and I heard lectures - and these would be scholastic lectures in the 14th century, on Aristotle's Ethics. And it told me everything about virtue, how to define it, how to classify it, but not how to be virtuous. And if you want to learn how to be virtuous, you have to read Cicero and Seneca, these inspiring authors. So there is a real difference of style. Now, it is true that there's also quite an overlap, both of them - both humanists and scholastics, especially in the 15th century, were interested in Aristotle. And they both taught Aristotle and they worked on the same texts. And sometimes you find people, there's a philosopher, mid 15th century philosopher who was a scholastic, but who was friends with humanists and he put in a lot of classical references and tried to write in a more engaging style. You have people like Pico della Marandola, whom I mentioned a bit before, and he gets involved in a dispute, a kind of friendly dispute... It's full of, it's again, very difficult to interpret because it's very playful and ironic. But he has a friend called Ermolao Barbaro, who is a Venetian humanist. And Ermolao Barbaro, who was very interested - he taught Aristotle in Padua. He translated Themistius, the Greek commentator on Aristotle into Latin. He had a plan to translate all of Aristotle into humanist Latin. He wrote to Pico saying, 'why are you wasting your time on these scholastic philosophers? Nobody's interested in them. Okay, I admit they're smart and they're vigorous, but what gives you a reputation and why you are remembered to posterity is a good cultivated style.' And Pico says, 'well, of course, you know, I agree with you and you make me feel bad that I've wasted the best years of my life studying these scholastics.'

Peter Adamson: I know how he feels.

Jill Kraye: Yeah, but he was 22. And he said, 'but let me, let me just try and make the case.' And then he creates this character who is a slightly more cultivated scholastic who defends the scholastic mode. And the paradox of the letter and why it's so difficult to interpret is the scholastic actually writes exactly like a humanist. He uses rhetorical devices, he brings in classical text, the whole idea of creating a character prosopopeia is a, you know, ancient rhetorical device. And he says: 'well, the thing about rhetoric and humanism is it's all about persuasion and they can persuade you that black is white and white is black. That's that's what it is. It convinces people that whatever you want is the truth. Scholastics, they may not be able to write very well, but they're interested in investigating the truth. They want to find out what's true.' And he makes a very interesting comparison between Lucretius, the Epicurean poet and Duns Scotus. And he says, well, Epicurus, Lucretius wrote beautiful Latin poetry, you know, it's very elegant - but it was full of these horrible things. The world is composed of atoms. There's the soul dies with the body. There is no providence, whereas Duns Scotus wrote very uncultivated, very barbaric Latin, but he told the truth. He said that there was divine providence, that the world was composed of matter and form. Which do you want to choose? And this correspondence goes back and forth. But so there there is a stylistic difference. But there is somebody like Pico who understands what the scholastics are doing. And a lot of his work does have a kind of scholastic basis. But on the other hand, is a great chum of Poliziano and uses his humanist elegance and his humanist knowledge to defend scholasticism. 
So the other thing I would say in the 16th century, humanist education - which develops in the 15th century, but really takes off in the 16th century, starts to really become very pervasive. And everybody starts to write better Latin. And the humanists, that's one of another one of their success stories. So when you read the scholastics in the 16th century, although they still use questions and doubts and things like that - a scholastic format, they write much better Latin. They write more elegantly. They a lot of them know Greek. They've learned Greek, which is another great humanist invention. They are aware of a much wider range of classical texts. So by the 16th century, I would say that the scholastics become humanized and there is not so much difference between humanism and scholasticism. Even though the humanists remain more interested in philological and historical and interpretive approaches, say to Aristotle, whereas the scholastics take a more formal and philosophical interest. And one classic example is the Jesuits who are formed in the middle of the 16th century. And they take up in their educational program the entire humanist education, but in their philosophical ideas, they're Aristotelians. And in their theological ideas, they follow Thomas Aquinas. So you get a humanist base on which you build a kind of scholastic and Thomistic Aristotle. And the Coimbra commentators, which are a group of commentaries that were done in the late 16th, early 17th century in Coimbra and Portugal by Jesuits. And they're a real classic example of how these two traditions have blended together. They often have the Greek text. They have a good, accurate Latin translation. They have philological notes, but they also ask all the scholastic questions. So the two come together.

Peter Adamson: One thing that puzzles me about this is where the humanists came from, actually, in the sense that if you think about what was happening still in the 14th century, it seemed like the way you would be educated into the ability to work on philosophical topics and also even Latin would be at the universities. But we think of humanism as something that happens outside the universities. And I'm wondering, therefore, what the intellectual formation was for the humanists or what the institutional frameworks were within which they could be educated to become so proficient in Latin and even in Greek.

Jill Kraye: Humanists did teach in universities. So it's not an entirely extra-university discipline. They got a lot less money than philosophers and medical people. They were always kind of at the bottom and usually taught introductory courses. But most humanist education took place in schools. And it's also a slight exaggeration to say that in the 14th century, people were not reading classical texts. They were reading classical texts, in some ways the same classical texts as in the 15th century, but they were reading them in a different way. People were reading Cicero, they were reading Virgil, they were reading Seneca, they were reading Perseus Juvenal. But they were reading them simply to understand, to parse and to learn Latin grammar as a method of learning Latin grammar. What the humanists do, they take the same text, but they start treating them as a way to learn how to write and how to speak Latin. And therefore, if you studied Cicero in the 14th century, you weren't expected to write like Cicero. In the 15th century, you were expected to write like Cicero. People wrote poetry, they were expected to be able to imitate Horace, to imitate Virgil. So there's a difference in approach there. But the main emphasis in medieval, late medieval schools and in Latin schools was on grammar. And that was learned by rote, rote grammar. You memorize things as you're supposed to do nowadays, but in fact people don't.

Peter Adamson: When you say school, do you mean like attached to a cathedral or a church? What kind of institutions do we have in mind here?

Jill Kraye: Well, in humanist schools tended to be not attached to cathedrals. They tended to be secular and they tended to have a secular clientele. The most famous humanist schools, Guarino of Verona, which was in Venice, and Vittorino da Feltre, who was in Mantua, really had a rather aristocratic clientele. Vittorino's school was set up basically to educate the Gonzaga children who were the ruling family in Mantua. They also educated Federico da Montefeltre, the great... later a Condottieria, formed a famous library. So they tended to be secular and they tended to be directed towards people who would enter - would become humanist secretaries or they would go to university or they would become humanist teachers. I mean, you could go to a humanist school and become a priest, but that wasn't necessarily the career path. And so I suppose that is a difference with the medieval tradition where they were more associated with that. Most of the famous humanist schools were all secular and they were educating people towards a career in the humanities, whether in universities or in bureaucracies or as secretaries or in the court.

Peter Adamson: Okay. Let me ask you something else about the kind of practical arrangements surrounding humanism, which is something else we really associate with the humanists, and this is their books. Because they have, I mean, maybe this isn't a widely known fact among the general population, but there's a humanist script. So it's actually literally a different way that they write in manuscripts. And then we also have an association between humanism and the rise of early modern printing eventually. And I guess a natural question therefore is to what extent humanism was actually driven by changes in things like book production, or whether it's more the other way around that the humanists had their own scholarly values, which were then reflected in the way that they produced their books.

Jill Kraye: I would probably say the latter. I think when I tried to define humanism as an attempt to recover and restore classical antiquity, they genuinely believed that the humanist script was the way that people in antiquity had written. Now, they knew that the manuscripts they had and the ones that they modeled themselves on, which they didn't like - scholastic Gothic manuscripts, which were very crabbed and the letters were difficult to read, and they were full of abbreviations and really rather ugly. But they did know Carolingian manuscripts, which was the first great age of the revival of antiquity. And they saw these - they're very beautiful. The letters are very clear. They're very upright. They're spaced out. And so they used that as one of their models. They also used inscriptions, which they knew came from antiquity for their capital letters. So the drive to recover everything to do with antiquity was part of the motivation to reform the script. They also reformed the orthography, the spelling, which they thought was more - wanted to go back to a more authentic spelling. Petrarch, who's a humanist, but in the age still kind of with one foot in the Middle Ages, we have letters where he says, I can't read these manuscripts. You know, they're like woven together and I can't tell the letters apart and they're too spaced together. And about 1400, that is the next generation, you get people like Poggio Bracciolini and Niccolo Niccoli who decide to reform the script. And they make this humanist upright. It's very clear. The letters are distinguished. They don't have abbreviation or they avoid abbreviations wherever possible. They have a different layout. Human scholastic manuscripts are often double column because paper was very expensive and you had to get as much on as possible. They're long spaced outlines. They're often decorated. They're very legible. They're very readable. And they also developed the humanist book hand, the formal one. If you're doing a formal manuscript that you're going to give to one of your patrons - but they also had a cursive. That term comes from the Latin for running. So something that they wrote very rapidly, slightly more sloping. And that's the ancestor of the italic print. 
And what happens is that when printing comes to Italy in the 1460s - so not very far after when Gutenberg invented it, a lot of the people who are involved in the editorial process are humanists, particularly humanists in the curia, the papal curia, the court of the Pope in Rome. And they get involved with the early printers and they do a lot of the additions because the printers, they're printers. They have technical capabilities, but they need somebody to actually provide a text. Now, in a way, this is very good because what it does is it makes popular texts widely available, accessible, readable, cheap. But of course, there's a downside, which is especially in that first period - the first 50 or even 100 years of print. The person who edited it, edited a text, a classical text, even if he were a humanist, probably used the first manuscript that came to hand, and didn't necessarily collate it very widely. And then a lot of them actually made it worse by kind of very careless amending, 'just, oh, yeah, that looks like this. I'll change that.' So they actually took a bad text and made it worse. And there's a famous story of a curial humanist who said that he thought printing was - and this was in the 1470s - a great boon until he had seen this edition done a few years earlier by another humanist and realized that what he'd done is taken a very corrupt text and made it hugely available. And he said 'what we need is somebody, we need the pope to appoint somebody to keep control of the text.' Someone like me - you know he was thinking, which, of course, didn't happen. And then the text that he was complaining about was a text of Pliny that had been done by a humanist. And then he did another one, the Complainer in 1473, and it got the same sort of criticism. So it was a kind of humanist sport to criticize each other. So it was very good. It was very useful. It made text much more widely available. It didn't always make the best text available. And that was a problem that you have a received text. But until really into the 16th century, often these texts are not really prepared in a very adequate way and can be very corrupt.

Peter Adamson: Your definition of humanism that you've already given us a couple of times has to do with the recovery of antiquity. And one thing that's rather puzzling about that is that, of course, the humanists are Christians and the antique thinkers that they're reviving here are almost always pagans. I mean, maybe you could think of Boethius or, of course, Augustine. So there are Christian authors that they may look to. But when they talk about Cicero, Virgil, Quintilian, as well as the philosophers that you've already mentioned, they're reviving the thought and work of pagans. How bothered are they by that?

Jill Kraye: Well, humanism is a very broad church. Some people are very, very bothered and some people aren't bothered at all. There are people who believe that pagan thought, pagan philosophy, although inferior to Christian philosophy, is basically compatible. So Petrarch gives an example of this. He says in relation to moral philosophy, 'the pagans teach us about virtue, which is the right path, but they don't... They stop at the end of this world.' And what Christianity does is take that path further. So they're not incompatible. There are other people who think that they're completely incompatible. Lorenzo Valla is one of them. And he's a mid 15th century humanist and he berates his fellow humanists for saying that the pagans can attain the same wisdom and virtue as the Christians. He says, what is that but to say that Christ lived for nothing or he didn't live at all? Because if we can get to this wisdom and virtue with the pagans, why do we need Christ? So there's a very, very wide range of attitudes towards that. There is a term that gets bandied about called Christian humanism, which is problematic in all sorts of ways, because it implies that there's a humanism that isn't Christian, which I don't think is really the case. But the general idea with Christian humanism is that in the 15th century with the Italians, it was mainly secular and then it gets more and more Christianized in the 16th century, particularly with the Reformation, people like Erasmus, and they create a program of Christian renewal, which is connected with the renewal of classical studies. I think that's not entirely untrue, but it's certainly not entirely true. 15th century humanists were very interested in Christian antiquity. They thought it was part of antiquity. And you say they didn't do that many Christian texts, but they were quite interested in the Church Fathers, not just Augustine, but Jerome, and Basil was a great favorite. And there was a text by Basil that Leonardo Bruni, an early 15th century humanist, one of the first texts that he translated is a letter by St. Basil, and it's called Letter to Young Men on the Utility of Studying Pagan Letters. And that was a kind of charter to say, here is the great St. Basil, one of the great church fathers, and he is explaining to you and telling you how you can make use of pagan learning. And what Basil said...

Peter Adamson: It's like a permission.

Jill Kraye: Yeah, and he says it's like the bees and they go to flowers and they gather some pollen here, but they don't gather pollen there and they use some for their honey and they discard the others. And the same thing with Marsilio Ficino, who's a late 15th century Platonist. For him, Augustine gives him permission, because Augustine said that the Platonists were the closest to Christianity. So the church fathers performed a very important mediating role. And you get people in the 16th century who will translate one of, again, Basil, who's a favorite of the humanists, his treatise - he does a homily on envy, and it's translated and published together with Plutarch's essay on envy from the Marelia. And they're put together because they think they're basically saying the same thing. As I said, there are people who don't - who disapprove of that. But I think, broadly speaking, Christian antiquity... When you're trying to revive antiquity, you're also trying to revive Christian antiquity. And the church fathers, they knew, had been, especially in the first four centuries, educated in the pagan classics, in the pagan literature, in pagan philosophy. And therefore, if it was good enough for them - and there are exceptions, for instance, Tertullian is the famous, "what does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?" So if you don't think that they're compatible, you tend to like Tertullian. But if you do think they're compatible, you tend to like people like Jerome or Basil. So there's a whole range. But I think Christian antiquity was always part of the story. Lorenzo Valla wrote a book on amending the text of the Bible. And this was a text that he wrote, and it was later published by Erasmus, and was an inspiration for Erasmus's own work on the Bible. Even humanists who were like Francesco Fidelfo, who mainly worked on secular texts, he also translated works by Basil and church fathers. So I think Christian antiquity was always there. It probably became more important, there was more interest, and more work in the 16th century, but it was always there.

Peter Adamson: And what about this recovery of the actual language of antiquity? Do they think that Latin, maybe Latin and Greek, but especially Latin, because they're writing in Latin, do they think that it has some special status among languages? Is it the perfect language for some reason?

Jill Kraye: No, I don't think they did. But what they did think is it was the language of antiquity. And antiquity had a special status.

Peter Adamson: So it's nothing about Latin as such.

Jill Kraye: No, I think if anything, that was probably a more medieval idea of Latin as the kind of perfect language that you could use in an abstract way. I think what they believed was that the greatest thinkers of antiquity wrote in Latin and Greek. And therefore, if you wanted to recover their thought and assimilate it and revive it, you had to use the language that they use. And they eventually, towards the end of... Greek is one of the great things that the humanists did that was not done in the Middle Ages. They revived the study of Greek and you did study Greek in humanist schools. And they began to realize that, and this starts maybe with people like Poliziano in the late 15th century, that Latin literature was based on Greek literature. And therefore, if you wanted to understand Latin literature, and even to some extent, Latin philosophy, you had to know the Greek behind it. So Greek became very important, although it was never as important as Latin because although some humanists did write Greek - Poliziano wrote poetry in Greek - mostly Latin was the language of philosophy. But I think it was just that it was connected with the whole idea of antiquity. And therefore, if you wanted to revive antiquity, you had to do it in that language. In the later period, they continued to have a great reverence for Latin and Greek, but they obviously thought the most important language was Hebrew. So it could change, but it's a historical association, I would say.

Peter Adamson: And the other thing about Latin, of course, is that they can talk to each other in Latin across cultural divides. So it's a universal language, which is something that Valla really points out.

Jill Kraye: Valla was very keen on it, and not only that they could speak Latin, but they could speak the same Latin because he realized - and this is one of the bees in the humanist bonnet, that medieval Latin, they regarded as a complete degeneration, as a very lowly form of Latin. It was barbaric. It barely counted as a language. And Valla said 'in antiquity, when everybody spoke proper Latin, they could communicate with each other. When they don't speak proper Latin, that communication declines.' But his idea was that when everybody speaks the same language, when in Hungary and in England and in Italy, they all speak, they can communicate, they can compete, you can have progress in the arts. It's very much an intellectual community rather than a social community. But it was very important. But later on, particularly in the 16th century, when the vernacular becomes much more important, what you find is that - and perhaps even more so in the 17th century, that when people are writing to their fellow countrymen, they write in French or English or Italian. But when they want an international audience, they write in Latin. So you start getting a dual system. And even a great scholar like Joseph Scaliger at the end of the beginning of the 17th century, when he's writing to Frenchmen, he writes in French - even writes in dialect. He even writes in the dialect that he uses from his family. But anything that is meant for an international audience is in Latin. So that's the distinction that develops later on.

Peter Adamson: And would you see that as one of the main legacies of humanism for the 17th century? Or in general, what is the importance of humanism as we move past what anyone would consider to be the Renaissance and into the 17th century?

Jill Kraye: Well, there is a phenomenon that people call "late humanism." And like humanism, it's a problematic term because nobody went around saying, 'I'm a late humanist.' They tended to see themselves in terms of their own particular disciplines. But late humanism is really just humanism. But in a slightly more advanced, more critical, more technical - the more they learn, the more they learn about antiquity, the more they can apply it. So you get people like Joseph Scaliger applying humanist techniques to the study of chronology, to the study of astronomy. You get people finding out a lot of texts, which in the earlier phase of humanism were thought to be genuine - they now have better critical tools like Hermes Trismegistus, which Isaac Casabon was able to show was a fake. They have better linguistics skills, particularly in Greek. So they develop their critical faculties. They become even more historically oriented and they get involved in more technical disciplines. And you can, and it has been questioned, is there such a phenomenon as late humanism? And I would say, again, it is a phenomenon. It does exist. But what you can only say is it's a group of people who had shared interests and shared techniques and shared linguistic skills. And really beyond that, to say it's this or that discipline or has this or that ideology, I think, as with humanism, it doesn't really work. One needs to scale it down and think in terms of skills, interests, aims, techniques rather than disciplines or ideology. 


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