The word as it appears to us today is very different from its ancient meaning. In the earlier times, humanist was used to refer to the one who taught or wrote in the ‘studia humanitatis’ or humanities, which was a grammar, moral philosophy, rhetoric, history, poetry as distinguished form fields less concerned with the imaginative and moral aspects.
In those eras these studies were way different from the scientific and theoretical ones like mathematics, natural philosophy and theology. They focused on the classical aspects of the Roman culture and a great emphasis was laid on learning to read speak and write Latin.
The idea was to educate the masses about Latin and thus make them literate. Many ancient texts in ancient Greek and Latin were recovered then edited and later expounded by the scholarly humanists and thus they gave an immense contribution to the store of materials and ideas in the European Renaissance.
They also came up with several works concerned with moral, educational and political themes that were concerned with popular philosophers like Aristotle, Plato and above all Cicero.
As late as the nineteenth century, the term humanism was coined to refer to view of human nature, the general views and the educational ideas that were common to many Renaissance humanists as well as to the other writers who later on write in the same tradition.
Humanities, as we study today, refers to those subjects that are closely concerned with the understanding of the human nature and thus the people around us.
These subjects may be literature, psychology, sociology, philosophy and others yet all aim to give one a better understanding of oneself as well as other around us. Classification of these branches is not as necessary as the understanding of their origin which might offer assignment help to the students of literature.
The various research paper writings state that that Renaissance humanism assumed the central position of human beings in the universe. It emphasized the importance of studying the classical imaginative and philosophical literature, but with emphasis not on its aesthetic value but on its moral and practical one. It insisted on the primacy of the human life being provided with reason in order to differentiate them from the animals. Several humanists so suggested that a rounded development of an individual is required along with this or her education. This round development not only includes the technical and specialized powers but also the moral ones like physical, mental, artistic and moral.
Today, the term humanist applies to people who base truth on human experience and reason and values on human nature and culture. This is in direct position of those who regard religious revelation as a warrant for basic truth and values.
The Renaissance humanists were pious Christians who inherited the ideals from pagan and incorporated them into the frame of Christian creed. The result of this was that they emphasized values that can be achieved by human beings in this world and not the other world.
This synthesis of the classical and the Christian views is known as Christian Humanism and is typical to writers such as Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser and John Milton.
Renaissance saw a rapid advance in the development of science and technology and therefore it became a dire need to defend the role of the humanities in liberal education against the encroachments of science and practical arts.
A famous proponent of Humanism is the Victorian era was Mathew Arnold. He was too much affected by the encroachments of science upon the arts and thus always came up with a pessimistic view regarding the same.
He strongly defended the central role of humane studies in general education. In fact, many of his leading ideas were adaptations of the old form of humanism. For example, his view that culture is a perfection of our humanity as distinguished from our animality supports this very idea.
In the 1890s, the German philosopher Wilhelm Dithery formed a highly influential distinction between the natural sciences, which aim at a reductive an abstract explanation of the world, as well as the human sciences which have their prime aim to facilitate the understanding of the full concrete world of acts experience.
In the previous century, the American movement of the 1910-33 which was popularly known as the New Humanism and was undertaken under the leadership of Irving Babbitt and Paul Elmer More, argues for the return to a primarily humanistic education and for a very conservative view of the moral, political and literary values that were grounded basically on the classical literature.
But in the present times when the demand for a scientific base is slowly and gradually increasing and practical arts have assumed more importance, the broad humanistic base for a general education has been greatly eroded.
The only thing that survives today in most of the colleges is that the students must take up any one subject from the field of liberal arts or what we call humanities in order to fulfill the requirement. It holds one more an importance than that.
Although it has been rightly said the Science can teach you how to clone an animal, but Arts teaches you why to clone it, yet arts do not hold that an importance as do the practical sciences.
Today, although arts offer a great topic and field for several research paper works yet their importance has been undermined. The science that most connects us to each other has been most distanced from us. That is how we have undermined the importance of liberal arts and gave more importance to practical ones.
Nonetheless, it is a point well stated that however hard we need a subject, it is bound to have its saturation point. Arts being a subject of subjective experience is always going to remain constant and in demand come what may. Thus, these were a few points that state the importance of humanities and humanism and that can facilitate further research paper writing on the subject or offer assignment help to students, for the same.