Hendrik Birus


This essay plots the historical course of the concept of "humanism" as it developed in the Western tradition. Combining analysis with concrete historical research, it compares and contrasts the concept's meanings, discussing the term in modernity and in the Renaissance, down to its early appearances in Cicero's texts. In addition to citing relevant secondary literature, it refers to texts by Heidegger, Marx, Hegel, and Erasmus, among others.


L'auteur retrace le parcours historique du concept d'humanisme tel qu'il s'est développé dans la tradition occidentale. Combinant une approche analytique avec les données d'une recherche textuelle, il compare et contraste les diverses significations que prend le terme dans l'usage de la modernité, de la Renaissance et de l'époque classique romaine.Citant des auteurs tels Cicéron, Erasmus, Heidegger, Marx et Hegel, il fait aussi référence, pour étoffer son historique, à des textes périphériques.

"Comment redonner un sens au mot Humanisme?"

Heidegger, Letter on 'Humanism'


Why am I somewhat uneasy with the idea of an "International Center for Humanistic Discourses" and with its convincing initial questions: "What is to be understood by 'humanistic' or is this still a usable term? How can we determine whether there is a humanistic discourse or humanistic discourses?" And why am I at the same time convinced of the urgency of these questions? The discrepancy stems from my own background and a sense of déjà vu: brought up in East Germany, I first encountered the concept of humanism in such combinations as "socialist humanism" and "socialism's humanistic image of man." In 1968 "humanistic values" advanced to a firm place in the language of the Constitution of the German Democratic Republic.[2] Reformers within the Soviet system then went on to demand "Socialism with a human face" which gave rise to a certain political optimism; but from a theoretical point of view "humanistic Marxism," suddenly popular in Eastern /pp. 5-6/ and Western Europe alike, had little or nothing to offer -- even Althusser's "theoretical anti-humanism"[3] seemed preferable.

The very first text of Heidegger's which I happened to read after my escape to the West -- his Letter on 'Humanism' (1946)[4] -- taught me that there is more than empty phrases to the relationship between "humanism" and Marxism. For it is no accident that Heidegger begins with Marx (319), though he departs from this starting point almost immediately, for a brief glance at "Christian humanism" and lands with a giant step in the age of the Roman Republic (320). The common ground that Heidegger finds in all these humanisms is "'the concern [Sorge]' [...] that man be drawn back into his essence [ Wesen]; for that is humanism: care and concern that man be human rather than 'inhuman,' which is to say outside his own essence. But what constitutes man's humanity?" Marxian humanism finds it in the identity between natural man and social man, Christian humanism in humanitas as opposed to deitas, Roman humanism in the contrast between homo humanus and homo barbarus (319f.).

Here Heidegger simply follows classical philologists like Werner Jaeger,[5] when he locates a "first humanism" in ancient Rome -- thus departing from the usual textbook pattern: /pp. 6-7/ "humanism" in the Renaissance; "neo- humanism"[6] in the philohellenism of the 18th and 19th centuries; and, in some cases, a "third humanism"[7] in the 1920s and 30s. Fundamental to Roman humanism, Heidegger suggests, was the elevation and ennoblement of "virtus [...] through the 'incorporation' of paideia adopted from the Greeks" in the form of "eruditio et institutio in bonas artes"; further on Heidegger calls this process "translation." Renaissance humanism, he indicates, only repeated this process, but the "inhuman" element was now the "supposed barbarism of Gothic medieval scholasticism." He continues: "Humanism, understood historically, must always include a studium humanitatis, which specifically recalls the culture of antiquity and thus invariably turns into a revival of ancient Greece." It must be noted that Heidegger is speaking here of the "late Greek antiquity," and then only as witnessed from a Roman perspective (320).

As Heidegger concedes, however, "humanism" can also be understood more broadly as an "endeavor to render man free for -- and to find dignity in -- his humanity [Menschlichkeit]." In this sense, "Marxian humanism" has no more need of taking its clue from antiquity than do Christian humanism or the "humanism with which Sartre identifies existentialism" (321). But to whatever degree all these humanisms may differ, for Heidegger they have one common denominator:

In its first, i.e. Roman, form, and in all its other forms up to the present, humanism presupposes that there is a /pp. 7-8/ general essence of man. Man appears always as animal rationale. This definition [Bestimmung] is not simply the Latin translation of the Greek zöon logon exon, but rather a metaphysical interpretation. This is not an incorrect definition of man's essence. It is determined, however, by metaphysics. (322)

The young Marx's "positive humanism" [8] provides a particularly revealing example of this inner connection between humanism and the metaphysical interpretation of man. For his point of departure is a definition of "Communism [...] as the actual appropriation of the human essence through and for man":

This communism as completed naturalism is humanism, as completed humanism it is naturalism. It is the genuine resolution of the antagonism between man and nature and between man and man; it is the true resolution of the conflict between existence and essence, objectification and self-affirmation, freedom and necessity, individual and species. It is the riddle of history solved and knows itself as this solution. [...] Only here has the natural existence of man become his human existence and nature become human. Thus society is the completed, essential unity of man with nature, the true resurrection of nature, the fulfilled naturalism of man and humanism of nature.[9]

By transcending this "ontology of man,"[10] with its origin in the notion of man as "a human natural being" and its "human /pp. 8-9/ sensibility,"[11] Marx logically proceeded to sacrifice the term "humanism," retaining it only as a term of derision for his former Young Hegelian companions.[12] Shall we follow his example?


Heidegger does come to this conclusion in his Letter on 'Humanism' when he considers "destabilizing the term 'humanism' in a way that would render the humanitas of the homo humanus and the grounding of this humanitas suspect" (346). Indeed, he is convinced that all such "designations are immediately and inevitably misleading" (357). Hence his cautious answer to Jean Beaufret's question, how to restore meaning to the word humanism: "Inherent in this question is the intention to retain the word humanism. I wonder whether this is necessary" (315). And even more fundamentally: "Your question on the one hand presumes that you want to retain the word humanism, and on the other hand admits that this word has lost its meaning" (344f.). Not that the word "humanism" is "entirely without meaning and simply a flatus vocis":

Verbally humanum refers to humanitas, man's essence. The suffix -ism indicates that man's essence wants to be understood as essential. This is the meaning of the word humanism as a word. To restore meaning to the concept is equivalent to redefining [wiederbestimmen] the meaning of the word. (345)

/pp. 9-10/

If we forego such etymological speculations and instead seriously investigate the possibility, opened up by Heidegger himself, of "restoring a historical meaning to the word humanism" (ibid.), we arrive at an astonishing result. A study of the word's usage through history does not lead to the Renaissance, let alone to the Romans or even earlier times.[13] Neither the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae nor Du Cange's Glossarium Mediae et Infimae Latinitatis supply the entries humanismus or humanista. As late as the early writings of Marx, the literature of the 14th and 15th centuries was never called "humanism"; this label only began to gain currency rapidly with Georg Voigt's The Revival of Classical Antiquity or the First Century of Humanism (1859).[14] The concept "humanism" became popular among the Young Hegelians[15] with /pp. 10-11/ Arnold Ruge's discussion of the Complete Works of Wilhelm Heinse in the Hallische Jahrbücher 1840. Ruge used the term "humanism" to designate the post-1770 enthusiasm for antiquity and the cult of genius and equated the term with "secularism," "liberation" and "enlightenment,"[16] and, a little later, even with "democratism." [17] Ultimately he joined Feuerbach in celebrating "humanism" as "Christianity fulfilled," as "the non-transcendental religion [die Religion des Diesseits], the culture of Truth and of the Idea."[18] Here we recall Hegel, who, though he does not use the word "humanism," does present Goethean Humanus (from the fragmentary epic Die Geheimnisse, v. 245f.) as the "new saint" of post- romantic art. He embodies

the depths and heights of the human heart as such, mankind in its joys and sorrows, its strivings, deeds, and fates [...] [It is] the human spirit […] selfdetermining and considering, meditating, and expressing the infinity of its feelings and situations: nothing that can be living in the human breast is alien to that spirit any more.[19] /pp. 11-12/

With Hegel we have come very close to the first appearance of the term "humanism," in a work entitled The Dispute between Philanthropinism and Humanism in the Educational Theory of our Time[20] written by Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer (1766-1848), the philosopher and Bavarian educational reformer and friend of Schiller, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Philanthropinism was the educational system of the Enlightenment with its scant regard for the ancient languages and its demand for school programs that were of "practical" use (14-16). "Humanism, as opposed to Philanthropinism, defends man's spiritual nature in its autonomy, its independence from the material world, and thus asserts something that is very true" (72), writes Niethammer. At the same time, however, he concedes that humanism "cannot be declared altogether innocent of one-sidedness and exaggeration -- for all the dignity and loftiness of its views on man's being and destiny, and despite the excellence of the demands it makes of man's education and cultivation" (39):

Humanism demands "that only man's mind be educated and trained; that no time be wasted on bodily exercise; and that mental exercise concentrate entirely on spiritual matters, on the sacred ideas that are alone of enduring, eternal value; that no consideration be given to material objects of the visible, transitory world, etc." Thus, Humanism renders itself [...] undeniably guilty of a one-sidedness that results necessarily from a fundamental imbalance; and it should /pp. 12-13/ come as no surprise if, in the judgment of judicious men of the world, it proves vulnerable to all those accusations that we have shown above [...]: the accusations of exaggeration, enthusiasm and a lack of reality [Weltkenntniß] etc. (44)

It is no wonder then that, while Niethammer clearly prefers "humanism" to "philanthropinism," he nonetheless demands "that the two opposed educational systems be united"(66). In his use of the appellation "humanism" -- which he occasionally goes so far as to term a "sectarian designation" (90) -- Niethammer stresses above all the relation "to all of earlier pedagogy, whose fundamental quality was to nurture the humanity rather than the animality of the pupil" (8).[21] In addition to this principal source of the notion of "humanity," one that his generation inherited mainly from Herder, Niethammer concedes a genealogical link to the "study of the socalled Humaniora" (8), i.e. to the studia humanitatis which, since the 17th century, have progressively acquired the name studia humaniora.


The origin of the designations humanist and humanistic lay in the context of these studia humanitatis, which had developed since the end of the 14th century into a canon of scholarly disciplines: grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry and moral philosophy; "and the study of each of these subjects also encompassed the reading and interpretation of standard ancient writers in Latin and, to a lesser extent, in Greek."[22] Although not to be found in any Latin dictio/pp. 13-14/ nary, 21 (mostly obscure) appearances of the word (h)umanista have been gathered from 16th-century texts,[23] examples that point in a direction quite different from the one suggested by Heidegger's speculations. Witness Campana, a Renaissance scholar:

The primary sense of the word clearly connected it [...] not with humanitas in general, but with humanitas -- umanità in the strict and technical application to Renaissance schools. [...] The links are not found in the realm of abstract ideas, but only in the humbler field of school life and terminology; they lead through the restricted, practical, workmanlike region in which the word stands as a name for a tutorial chair or a certain phase in the classical syllabus of Renaissance schools. Reduced to the precise and concrete limits of a linguistic analysis, the etymological link between umanista and humanitas loses its vagueness and gains solid reality in the social framework of the period.[24] /pp. 14-15/

And now Kristeller on the same subject:

It is true that many Renaissance humanists cherished the ideal of a universally educated person, and the humanist Vives designed an encyclopedia of learning on humanist rather than scholastic principles. It is also true that many humanists, or scholars with a humanist training, had strong interests in other subjects besides the humanities, and made significant contributions to these subjects. Yet it is important to realize that the professional home territory of the humanists was a well-defined and limited cycle of studies, which included a certain group of disciplines and excluded others.[25]

Yet already in the Epistolae obscurorum virorum (1515) -- to be sure, expressed in medieval "kitchen Latin" and therefore not unambiguously -- the designation humanista was subject to a revalorization.[26] It became part of the aura that surrounded the concept of humanitas, which had played a key role among Petrarch's successors, who themselves followed in the footsteps of Cicero. Cicero used the term, which first appeared in the Rhetorica ad Herennium (ca. 84/83 B.C.), [27] in the sense of "human nature," as opposed to "bestiality" (De officiis III, vi, 32). But beyond this narrow meaning he gave it the broader range of:

ethical and intellectual education, human noble-mindedness, dignity and nobility of the human spirit, honor, wit, taste, humor, grace, elegance, subtlety, spirit, culture, /pp. 15-16/ education, urbanity, inner equilibrium, friendliness, kindness, leniency, philanthropy, hospitality, generosity, liberality.[28]

Above all: "appellari ceteros homines, esse solos eos, qui essent politi propriis humanitatis artibus" (De re publica I, xvii, 28).[29] "Thus, not all men are humani or demonstrate humanitas. Only in the civilization of the Roman Empire and its social order does humanitas count as an educational value and socio-ethical virtue. Those who live outside the Empire are not yet fully 'human,' they are 'barbarians'."[30] Two hundred years later Aulus Gellius highlighted the fact that the 'Ancients' -- he names Varro and Cicero -- had used humanitas not simply in the sense of philanthropia but also of paideia.[31]

Humanitas, then, had been used in medieval Christianity mainly to mean "frail, mortal human nature," as opposed to the divinitas of God. By contrast, shortly after 1400, Coluccio /pp. 16-17/ Salutati and Leonardo Bruni Aretino once again referred directly to Cicero, adopting his term studia humanitatis (Pro Murena xxix, 61; and Pro Caelio x, 24) as the code word for their own endeavors: "humanitatis studia nuncupantur, quod homines perficiant atque exornent."[32] But just as Marx, four centuries later, was to conflate "completed humanism" with "completed naturalism,"[33] so in fifteenth-century Humanism the emphasis on man's divine origins and his similarity to God increasingly weakened the antithesis between humanitas and divinitas. Thus, according to Pico della Mirandola, it was precisely in the ascent from feritas over humanitas to divinitas that man fulfilled his destiny. [34] In this sense, and particularly in opposition to Luther, Erasmus of Rotterdam used the term humanitas to stress man's autonomy before God, which he saw expressed in the development of all man's natural faculties and in exemplary social behavior. Literary studies were to play a central role: "Bonae litterae homines reddunt."[35] Yet this emphasis on literary studies had its price:

By their nature, the studia humanitatis presuppose a high degree of education with elitist characteristics and thus compromise their popular effectiveness. The European intellectual becomes a philologist. The intellectual and moral self-righteousness of the bourgeois exponents of the studia humanitatis -- whatever their personal social classification may be -- leads them increasingly away from /pp. 17-18/ the uneducated and creates in them a quasi-aristocratic sense of self and power. Their claim that a nobilitas litteraria and the traditional nobility are peers ultimately leads to an equation of humanitas and nobilitas.[36]


"What is to be understood by 'humanistic' or is this still a usable term? How can we determine whether there is a humanistic discourse or humanistic discourses?"

Hendrik Birus
Institut für Allgemeine und
Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
Universität München

Surface Page d'Acceuil/Home Page

/p. 18/

[1]I would like to thank Nicolas Rennie and Ruth Kluger for their help in preparing the English version of this paper, and Franz Joseph Worstbrock and Hillis Miller for their productive comments.

[2]Article 18, paragraph 1: "Socialist national culture is fundamental to socialist society. The German Democratic Republic promotes and protects socialist culture, which serves peace, humanism and the development of a socialist community. It opposes imperialist anti-culture [Unkultur], which serves psychological warmongering and the devaluation of man. Socialist society promotes a culturally rich life for the productively engaged, cultivates all humanistic values of the national cultural heritage and of world culture and developes socialist national culture as an endowment belonging to the people as a whole." (My italics.)

[3] Louis Althusser, For Marx, transl. by Ben Brewster, London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press 1969, 229-231.

[4] I quote here and below from: Martin Heidegger, Wegmarken (Gesamtausgabe I, Vol. 9), ed. by Friedrich-Wilhelm von Herrmann, Frankfurt a. M.: Klostermann, 1976, 313-64 (figures in parentheses indicate page numbers).

[5]Cf. Werner Jaeger, "Die geistige Gegenwart der Antike," in: Die Antike 5 (1929), 167-186, here p. 178; August Buck still held this opinion in: Humanismus. Seine europäische Entwicklung in Dokumenten und Darstellungen, Freiburg, München: Alber 1987, 13-34, and quotes parallel passages from Otto Regenbogen and Karl Büchner in: ibid., 479.

[6]Der gelehrte Unterricht im Zeichen des Neuhumanismus. 1740-1892 is the title of vol. 2 of Friedrich Paulsen, Geschichte des gelehrten Unterrichts auf den deutschen Schulen und Universitäten vom Ausgang des Mittelalters bis zur Gegenwart. Mit besonderer Rücksicht auf den klassischen Unterricht, 2nd rev. ed., Leipzig: Veit 1897 (11885); for Paulsen, the zenith of "neo-humanismus" was between 1790 and 1840 (cf. t. 2, vol. 5).

[7]Cf. Lothar Helbling [i.e. Wolfgang Frommel], Der dritte Humanismus, Leipzig, 1932.

[8]Karl Marx, "Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts," in: Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society, transl. and ed. by Loyd D. Easton and Kurt H. Guddat, Garden City, New York: Doubleday 1967 (= Anchor Books 583), 283-337, here 331.

[9]Ibid., 304 and 306.

[10]The apt formulation is Herbert Marcuse's in his early article "Über die philosophischen Grundlagen des wirtschaftswissenschaftlichen Arbeitsbegriffs," in: H. Marcuse, Kultur und Gesellschaft II, Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp 1965 (= edition suhrkamp 135), 7-48, here 27.

[11]Marx, "Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts," loc. cit., 326.

[12]Cf. Walter Rüegg, "Zur Vorgeschichte des marxistischen Humanismusbegriffs," in: Rüegg, Anstöße. Aufsätze und Vorträge zur dialogischen Lebensform, Frankfurt a.M.: Metzner 1973, 181-197 and 337-339, esp. 196f.

[13]Cf. the articles 'Humaniora' (D. Klemenz), 'Humanismus, Humanität' (I. Pape) and 'Humanitas' (R. Rieks) in: Joachim Ritter (ed.), Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie, vol. 3, Stuttgart: Schwabe 1974, col. 1216f., 1217-1230 and 1231f., and 'Menschheit, Humanität, Humanismus' (Hans Erich Bödeker), in: Otto Brunner, Werner Conze, Reinhart Koselleck (eds.), Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe. Historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland, vol. 3, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta 1982, 1063-1128. The articles 'Humanism,' 'Humanist,' and 'Humanistic' in the Oxford English Dictionary, vol. 5, Oxford: Clarendon Press 1933 (repr. 1961), 444, confirm -- with some delay -- the following reconstruction of the history of these concepts. On the other hand, Nicola Abbagnano's article 'Humanism' (transl. by Nino Langiulli) in the Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. by Paul Edwards, vol. 4, New York, London: Macmillan and Collier Macmillan 1967 (repr. 1972), 69-72, is a summary of all traditional prejudices about this topic.

[14]Georg Voigt, Die Wiederbelebung des classischen Alterthums oder das erste Jahrhundert des Humanismus, 2 vols., Berlin: Reimer 1859, 1880f. Karl Hagen preceded him in using the term "humanism" in his book Deutschlands literarische und religiöse Verhältnisse im Reformationszeitalter. Mit besonderer Rücksicht auf Wilibald Pirkheimer, 3 vols., Erlangen: Palm 1841-1844, vol. 1, 79 and passim.

[15]For an account of the concept of 'humanism' as a creation of the 19th century, cf. the 'Introduction' to Walter Rüegg, Cicero und der Humanismus. Formale Untersuchungen über Petrarca und Erasmus, Zürich: Rhein-Verlag 1946, 1-6; for specific reference to the Young Hegelian background, cf. Lothar Koch, Humanistischer Atheismus und gesellschaftliches Engagement. Bruno Bauers "Kritische Kritik", Stuttgart, Berlin, Köln, Mainz: Kohlhammer 1971.

[16]Arnold Ruge, Sämtliche Werke, vol. 3, 319f. (quoted after Rüegg, "Zur Vorgeschichte des marxistischen Humanismusbegriffs," loc. cit., 186-188).

[17]So in his polemical review essay on Ernst Moritz Arndt, Erinnerungen, in: ibid., vol. 2, 90.

[18]So in the article "Was wird aus der Religion?" (1841), in: ibid., vol. 4, 222. On Moses Hess' und Karl Marx's radicalization of this concept of humanism cf. Rüegg, "Zur Vorgeschichte des marxistischen Humanismusbegriffs," loc. cit., 189-196.

[19]G. W. F. Hegel, Aesthetics. Lectures on Fine Art, transl. by T. M. Knox, 2 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press 1975, vol. 1, p. 607; Hegel writes elsewhere: "the hero of such an epic would be the spirit of man, Humanus, which educates and lifts itself out of a dullness of consciousness into world history" (ibid., vol. 2, 1064 -- translation slightly altered).

[20]Der Streit des Philanthropinismus und Humanismus in der Theorie des Erziehungsunterrichts unserer Zeit, Jena: Frommann 1808; repr. in: Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer, Philanthropinismus -- Humanismus. Texte zur Schulreform, ed. by Werner Hillebrecht, Weinheim, Berlin, Basel: Beltz 1968 (= Kleine Pädagogische Texte, Bd. 29), 79-445 (quoted after the original pagination). The word humanism in a colloquial sense can be found as early as: Johann Friedrich Abegg, Reisetagebuch von 1798, ed. by Walter and Jolanda Abegg in collaboration with Zwi Batscha, Frankfurt a.M.: Insel 1976, 236 (cf. Bödeker's. "Menschheit, Humanität, Humanismus," loc. cit., 1121).

[21]Animality here is explicitly used as a negative foil for "humanism" und thus could serve as evidence for Heidegger's thesis: "Metaphysics thinks of man from the perspective of animalitas even when one doesn't equal man and animal, but allows for a specific difference between them" (Brief über den 'Humanismus', a.a.O., 323).

[22]Paul Oskar Kristeller, "The Humanist Movement," in: Kristeller, Renaissance Thought [I]: The Classic, Scholastic, and Humanist Strains. A revised and enlarged edition of "The Classics and Renaissance Thought," New York, Hagerstown, San Francisco, London: Harper & Row 1961, 3-23, here 9f.; cf. also August Buck, "Die 'studia humanitatis' im italienischen Humanismus," in: Studien zu Humanismus und Renaissance. Gesammelte Aufsätze aus den Jahren 1981-1990, ed. by Bodo Guthmüller, Karl Kohut and Oskar Roth, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz 1991 (= Wolfenbütteler Abhandlungen zur Renaissanceforschung, vol. 11), 103-119.

[23]Cf. Augusto Campana, "The Origin of the Word 'Humanist'," in: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institute 9 (1946), 60-73, and Paul F. Grendler, "The Concept of Humanist in Cinquecento Italy," in: Renaissance: Studies in Honor of Hans Baron, ed. by Anthony Molho and John A. Tedeschi, Dekalb, Ill.: Northern Illinois Press 1971, 445-463.

[24]Campana, "The Origin of the Word 'Humanism'," loc. cit., 67 and 69; cf. also Paul Oskar Kristeller, "Humanism and Scholasticism in the Italian Renaissance," in: Kristeller, Renaissance Thought [I], loc. cit., 92-119, here 111, and "The Moral Thought of Renaissance Humanism," in: Kristeller, Renaissance Thought II: Papers on Humanism and the Arts, New York, Evanston, London: Harper & Row 1965, 20-68, here 24f.

[25]Paul Oskar Kristeller, "The Medieval Antecedents of Renaissance Humanism,", in: Kristeller, Eight Philosophers of the Italian Renaissance, Stanford: Stanford University Press 1964 (repr. 1966), 147-165, here 150.

[26]Cf. Campana, "The Origin of the Word 'Humanist'," loc. cit., 69f.

[27]Here in the sense of "kind, humane behavior" (cf. ibid. II, xvi, 24, xvii, 26, xxxi, 50; IV, viii, 12).

[28]Rieks, "Humanitas," loc cit., col. 1231 ; cf. Rieks, Homo, Humanus, Humanitas. Zur Humanität in der lateinischen Literatur des ersten nachchristlichen Jahrhunderts, München: Fink 1967.

[29]"[...] though others may be called men, only those are men who are perfected in the arts appropriate to humanity" (Cicero, De Re Publica. De Legibus, transl. by Clinton Walter Keyes, Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard University Press and William Heinemann 1928, repr. 1966).

[30]Bödeker, "Menschheit, Humanität, Humanismus," loc. cit., 1065.

[31]A. Gellius, Noctes Atticae, ed. P. K. Marshall, 2 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press 1968 (reissued with corrections 1990), XIII, xvii; this is the passage which Heidegger does not explicitly refer to, supporting his corresponding thesis in his Brief über den 'Humanismus', a.a.O., 319f. (cf. supra p. 2f.). Where Niethammer postulates an opposition between the terms humanism and philanthropinism, Gellius sees the terms humanitas and philanthropia as synonymous. This should service a warning against an unhistorical use of such concepts.

[32]Leonardo Bruni Aretino to Leonardo Nicolao, in: Aretini Epistolarum Libri VI, ed. Laurentio Mehus, Florence 1741, vol. 2, 49; cf. Bödeker, "Menschheit, Humanität, Humanismus," loc. cit., 1069f.

[33]Cf. supra 3f.

[34]Cf. Bödeker, "Menschheit, Humanität, Humanismus," loc. cit., 1069.

[35]Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, Querela Pacis (1517/1529), in: Erasmus, Opera Omnia, vol. 4/2, ed. O. Herding, Amsterdam, Oxford: North-Holland Publishing Company 1977, 66.

[36]Bödeker, "Menschheit, Humanität, Humanismus," loc. cit., 1070.