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DOI 10.12887/28-2015-1-109-09

Mirosława HANUSIEWICZ-LAVALLEE – On the Relation Between the Humanitas and the Humanities

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The present essay reflects on the decline of the links between, on the one hand, the tradition of the classical paideia and the the humanitas (the two of which had animated the development of European culture and civilization up till the 18th century) and, on the other hand, the modern humanities. The author stresses the paradox which consists in that philosophical and sermocinal education, today perceived as impractical and anachronistic, used to be highly valued for centuries precisely due to its usefulness in the preparation of the youth for broadly understood social life. The basis of the humanistic educational curriculum was the conception of humanity perceived as a task to accomplish and as a certain intellectual and moral potential which can only be fulfilled by way of immersion in the logosphere, laden with the power to humanize. So understood, the humanitas was an instrument of shaping the space of freedom, it animated the social and political life, strengthened civic education, was useful in teaching the young the art of debating and handling controversies, and it shaped the attitudes of tolerance. However, literary studies, which were the basis of such a humanistic curriculum, did not embrace an extensive model of reading; rather, the written word was considered as exhibiting the axiological locus. It was only the new humanism that contributed to the professionalization of the humanities and thus to a certain objectification of the bonae litterae, which are no longer considered as a tool of humanization, but as a research object. Thus their cultural role has become non-obvious and may be questioned, although on the other hand the modern civilization does not offer new models of introducing the human being to the world of values.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: humanitas, literary studies, the humanities, humanization

Contact: Chair of Old Polish Literature, Institute of Polish Studies, Faculty of the Humanities,
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland

E-mail: mirhan@kul.lublin.pl
Phone: +48 81 4454314

Pliki do pobrania:

» 109_Hanusiewicz.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887