Humanism

Listen in pop-out player

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Humanism. On the 3rd January 106 BC Marcus Tullius Cicero, lawyer, politician, Roman philosopher and the founding father of Humanism was born. His academy, the Studia Humanitas taught ‘the art of living well and blessedly through learning and instruction in the fine arts’, his version of ‘humanitas’ put man not God at the centre of the world.Centuries later, Cicero’s teachings had been metamorphosed into ‘Classical Humanism’, a faith in the soft arts of the Greek world. But how did Cicero’s ideas become Renaissance ideals? How did a small Greek curriculum later become a world philosophy? The human centred creed is credited with giving us human rights and democracy but has also been blamed for the most unspeakable horrors of the modern age. Have his ideas been distorted through the centuries for political ends? And why do some contemporary thinkers think the Humanist tradition is responsible for Elitism, Sexism and even Nazism? With Tony Davies, Professor and Head of the Department of English, University of Birmingham and author of Humanism; Lisa Jardine, Professor of Renaissance Studies, Queen Mary College, University of London and Honorary Fellow of Kings College Cambridge; Simon Goldhill, Reader in Greek Literature and Culture at Kings College Cambridge.

Release date:

Available now

45 minutes

Last on

Thu 8 Feb 2001 21:30

Related topics

Featured in...

Topics: an extra way to explore our archive

Topics: an extra way to explore our archive

How you helped us find a fresh way to discover our programmes.

The In Our Time Quiz

Melvyn Bragg

Have you been listening? Test yourself with our quiz of 2015.

In Our Time podcasts

In Our Time podcasts

Every episode of In Our Time is available to download.

The Matter of the North

The Matter of the North

Melvyn Bragg explores the pivotal role of England's north in shaping modern Britain.

A History of Ideas

The Libet Experiment

Some of life's biggest questions explored in animations.