Humanism is a philosophical perspective that puts paramount value on the human being as an end in itself. Humanism values the subjective, internal experience of being human. The inner mental and emotional life of a person is considered to be more important than abstract ideologies, religious dogma, or rational thought.
The European Renaissance was ignited by humanist movements in literature, art, architecture and philosophy. The result of these movements was a re-valuing of pre-Christian aesthetic and spiritual sensibilities. Scholars began re-examining Plato, Epicurus, and other Greek thinkers. They created new and better translations of classical books.
Humanism slowly loosened the stronghold of the Roman Catholic Church over medieval Europe. It set the stage for the Protestant Reformation, and created a new scholarly class that rejected the secular authority of the Church.