Religion Past and Present

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(4,363 words)

[German Version]

I. Terminology – II. Antiquity – III. Middle Ages and Renaissance – IV. Modern Era

I. Terminology

Humanism derives from Lat. humanus, “human, humane,” with the suffix -ism denoting the corresponding intellectual attitude; the noun means “the effort to live a humane life, appropriate to the nature of humanity,” “efforts on behalf of humanity.” The word was coined by the educationalist F.I. von Niethammer in 1808 as an alternative to the education…

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Landfester, Manfred and Scheible, Heinz, “Humanism”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 26 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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