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Humanism basically refers to a shift in interest from divine matters to human affairs. The renaissance scholars extolled human beings as they were, upheld the essential worth and dignity of human existence, expressed deep faith in their creative potential and proclaimed the right of every individual to express in his/her own way. The humanists rejected the emphasis of the Christian Church on "life after death".The joys and the sorrows of the people mattered to them. Human affairs became the focus of study. The spirit of humanism found its expression in art,painting,sculpture and literature
Renaissance humanism was a movement that began in Italy with a "rebirth" of classical learning. There were three simultaneous sources of thus rebirth. First, scholars such as Petrarch were combing monastic libraries for old manuscripts and palimpsests. Second, with the Crusades and Fall of Constantinople, Byzantine scholars were bringing over the Latin West knowledge and many Latin texts that had falling into desuetude in the West. Third, in Spain, especially Toledo, Europeans were encountering classical works preserved in Arabic translations and important Arabic commentaries (a factor that influenced the 12th century Renaissance and continued to influence humanism). The printing press led to wide dissemination of the new humanist learning. The included a new focus on the areas now called the humanities as worthy of study at advanced levels, rather than just as preliminary to theology.
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