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Any belief, method, or philosophy that has a central emphasis on the human realm. The term is most commonly applied to the cultural movement in Renaissance Europe characterized by a revival of Classical letters, an individualistic and critical spirit, and a shift of emphasis from religious to secular concerns. This movement dates to the 13th century and the work of the Florentine scholar-statesman Brunetto Latini. Its diffusion was facilitated by the publication of Classical ideas, both in the vernacular and in Latin.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on humanism, visit Britannica.com.