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Northern Humanist Essay

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The Northern Humanists were firm believers in higher education. Yet, they were also very critical of the way it was carried it out. Analyze their main criticisms of higher education and learning.

The Northern Humanists are strong believers in higher education.  They differed from the more Italian approach; The Northerners emphasized education across a broader band of society, not just a more scholarly yet secluded class of intellectuals.  Somewhat oddly, the study of the ancient classics was valued, but not thought to have much relevance in solving their current issues. "Thus those who were attracted to the new learning tended to be those who were simply curious rather than those who were dedicated to discovering through the study of the classics new means of dealing with social and personal problems." (Wilcox) For the North, there was too much rhetoric that came from the study of the ancients and their discourses. They called for moral reform, and their interest in piety extended in how it could be applied to public virtue.  The Northern Humanists were in favor of a more scholarly study and use of Latin, as opposed to the lower and common Italian Vulgate, in use by the Roman Catholic Church. They also were critical of empty ritual: "They emphasized spiritual life rather than ritual observances and published simple French translations of biblical passages to bring the people closer to the simple and pure truths of Scripture" (Wilcox...

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