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Humanism

In the second half of the fourteenth century and throughout the fifteenth century, we witness the birth of a new movement of thought in almost total contrast with the medieval period. Starting with Petrarch, the new literary figure on the European scene is taking shape in a rather complete way. The new cultural environment that is developing concerns the re-evaluation of the figure of man in relations with his fellow men and mainly with the divine. Man is no longer seen as a weak being both in the moral effort, due to the fact of being born in original sin, and in the physical sphere for his illnesses and consequently in need of a guide as expressed in the medieval thought of the scholastic and therefore a Thomistic-Aristotelian vision of life, tending to enhance the afterlife. Man is strong now, in fact humanism proposes an anthropocentric and no longer theocentric vision of life. The first concerns the centrality of man as a thinking being capable of dominating creation, in the second it is God himself who is at the center of life. This concept is taken up by Copernicus who in 1543 publishes his thesis that he sees the earth revolve around the sun; later demonstrated by Galilei. Man can live in earthly joy that is not in contrast with eternal salvation; the two theories can coexist avoiding the reciprocal contradiction. Consequently, the leading historical period is the classical era, hence the works of Latin and Greek authors.

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