While humanist sensibilities have played a formative role in the advancement of our species, critical attention to humanism as a field of study is a more recent development. As a system of thought that values human needs and experiences over supernatural concerns, humanism has gained greater attention amid the rapidly shifting demographics of religious communities, especially in Europe and North America. This outlook on the world has taken on global dimensions as well, with activists, artists, and thinkers forming a humanistic response not only to traditional religion, but to the pressing social and political issues of the 21st century.
With in-depth, scholarly chapters, The Oxford Handbook of Humanism aims to cover the subject by analyzing its history, its philosophical development, its influence on culture, and its engagement with social and political issues. In order to expand the field beyond more Western-focused works, the Handook discusses humanism as a worldwide phenomenon, with regional surveys that explore how the concept has developed in particular contexts. The Handbook also approaches humanism as both an opponent to traditional religion as well as a philosophy that some religions have explicitly adopted. By both synthesizing the field, and discussing how it continues to grow and develop, the Handbook promises to be a landmark volume, relevant to both humanism and the rapidly changing religious landscape.