ABSTRACT

This chapter discusses the meaning and conceptual history of “humanism”. Historically, this term has its roots in antiquity, especially in the philosophy of the Stoa. Its most important representative is Cicero. In the early modern period, a spiritual movement developed following the ancient one, in which the first forms of the humanities emerged. Humanism reached its peak in Germany at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. The thinking of Johann Gottfried Herder is typical for this. The current situation is characterized by a twofold development: a criticism of humanism as the ideology of the intellectual superiority of the West over other cultures and, through multiple renewals, its significance for the self-understanding of people and the development of modern humanities.