Why did Renaissance humanists believe that studying classical works necessary?

Updated 21 March, 2023
Renaissance humanists believed that studying classical works was necessary because they saw them as models of excellence in all areas of life. They believed that by studying the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans, they could gain a deeper understanding of human nature, morality, and ethics. Renaissance humanists also believed that classical education was essential for the development of a well-rounded individual, capable of participating fully in society. By studying classical works, they hoped to revive the values and achievements of ancient cultures, and create a new culture that would be just as great.
Detailed answer:

Renaissance humanists believed that studying classical works was necessary for a number of reasons. Firstly, they believed that the classical works contained universal truths that were applicable to all aspects of life, including politics, ethics, and education. These truths were considered to be timeless and relevant to all people, regardless of their culture or background.

Secondly, studying classical works was seen as a way to improve one's own writing and rhetoric. The humanists believed that the great writers of antiquity had perfected the art of language and that by studying their works, they could learn how to write more effectively themselves. This was particularly important for those who aspired to careers in law, politics, or the church, where the ability to persuade and argue effectively was crucial.

Thirdly, studying classical works was seen as a way to reconnect with the intellectual and cultural heritage of Europe. Humanists believed that the classical world represented a high point of human achievement and that by studying its literature, art, and philosophy, they could rediscover the values and accomplishments of their own civilization.

Finally, the study of classical works was seen as a way to break free from the intellectual and cultural constraints of the medieval world. Humanists believed that the medieval period was marked by ignorance, superstition, and religious dogma, and that by studying the classical works, they could escape these constraints and create a new, more rational and enlightened society.

In summary, Renaissance humanists believed that studying classical works was necessary because it provided universal truths, improved one's writing and rhetoric, reconnected with European heritage, and broke free from the constraints of the medieval world.

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