What was Renaissance humanism?

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Humanism in one sense was basically a curriculum, an approach to learning that emphasized reading classical texts, not to pull out isolated passages for supporting syllogistic arguments, but to derive moral theories and principles. So humanists turned to classical texts, both Greek and Roman, in the search for meaning. This search, however, produced a new attitude or mentality that we often associate with the humanists, namely that man himself ought to be placed at the center of intellectual endeavor. This view, which departed from the idea that man was essentially depraved and debased, became central to the writings of such humanists as Pico Della Mirandola, Erasmus, and others. 

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