Christian humanism

Christian humanism regards humanist principles like universal human dignity and individual freedom and the primacy of human happiness as essential and principal components of, or at least compatible with, the teachings of Jesus.[1]


Proponents of the term "Christian humanism" assert a continuity with early Modern Renaissance humanists, humanities scholars, often Catholics, whose works revived some secular thinking from the ancient world. This definition of "Christian humanism" draws a continuity between late-medieval humanities scholars and modern-day Christians who identify more closely with "ancient secular values". [2]

Prominent humanists reject the validity of terms like "Christian humanism". In The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Humanism, Andrew Copson of the International Humanist and Ethical Union and Humanists UK refers to Christian humanism as a "hybrid term... which some from a Christian background have been attempting to put into currency." Copson argues that attempts to append religious adjectives like Christian to the life stance of humanism are incoherent, saying these have "led to a raft of claims from those identifying with other religious traditions – whether culturally or in convictions – that they too can claim a ‘humanism’. The suggestion that has followed – that ‘humanism’ is something of which there are two types, ‘religious humanism’ and ‘secular humanism’, has begun to seriously muddy the conceptual water." He encourages religious believers emphasising the humanitarian aspects of their beliefs to make, as philosopher Karl Popper did, a distinction "between 'humanists' and 'religious humanitarians'".[3]

See also



  • Arnold, Jonathan. "John Colet — Preaching and Reform at St. Paul's Cathedral, 1505–1519." Reformation and Renaissance Review: Journal of the Society for Reformation Studies 5, no. 2 (2003): 204–9.
  • D'Arcy, Martin C. Humanism and Christianity. New York: The World Publishing Company, 1969
  • Lemerle, Paul. Byzantine humanism: the first phase: notes and remarks on education and culture in Byzantium from its origins to the 10th century trans. Helen Lindsay and Ann Moffatt. Canberra, 1986.
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