Larsen, Rune Engelbreth,Renæssancen og humanismens rødder. Århus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 2006

Wivestad, Stein
2007 Nordicum-Mediterraneum  
Rune Engelbreth Larsen has studied religion and the history of ideas at Aarhus University. In this book he wants to describe the breakthrough in the renaissance (and renaissances) of the idea of -humanism‖ or -a humanist view on human beings‖ (7, 29) 1 . His postscript (which could have been the introduction?) reveals Larsen's interest: He wants a concept of humanism for the third millennium, a -humanism, which sticks to its own historical origin‖ (337), a concept that is based in the
more » ... new ideas that constitute the renaissance (340). He starts, however, sketching the broad use of the word -humanism‖ during the last hundred years. The word is used in connection with persons and movements as different as Augustine, Kierkegaard (14) , Human-Etisk Forbund in Norway (15), Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Jean Paul Sartre (16) and the EU Treaty for a Constitution of Europe from 2004. If -humanism‖ contains contradictory views, but is formally accepted by almost all, it seems -to have lost status as an independent, particular view.‖ 2 Larsen wants to avoid a situation where -anything goes", and intends to go to the roots of the concept. Humanismus is first used in Germany in the beginning of the 19 th century, denoting studies of language and literature within a specific culture. The broader concept of studia humanitatis and the concept of humanitas have their roots in the antique; and the word -humanist‖ (umanista) is formed in Italy by the end of the 15 th century in connection with a renewed interest in studia humanitatis, the study of -grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry and moral philosophy‖ (22)(23) 322). For me the concept of humanism is interesting in connection with an ongoing discussion about a planned new formulation of the aims of the Kindergarten, the Primary School and the Secondary School in Norway. The committee preparing this is finishing its work in June 2007. It discusses among other elements something about building the education on -basic ideas from Christian and humanist tradition‖, or -transfer and renew the cultural inheritance with roots in Christianity, humanism, democracy and scientific way of thinking‖, alternatively -with sources in‖ the same elements. 56 love and wisdom, adults who help each other to become better human beings and thereby also better examples for children. The main references for his concepts are Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Klaus Mollenhauer. See
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