Montaigne is best known for his Essays, which serve as a literary record of his quest to comprehend man’s existence and behaviour. To do so, he needed first to understand himself, which he attempted earnestly. As such, he is arguably the most evocative of Renaissance humanism. Humanism is distinct from humanitarianism in that it is a term invented to refer to the study of man’s relationship with a man and with himself, as opposed to Theology, which was concerned with man’s relationship with God, for which it was essential first to consider the essence of God.
Montaigne evangelized for the study of man. His Essays are concerned with comprehending God’s handiwork with man at its core, as well as, as a prelude, with understanding one’s own self. The guiding light and illustrative examples of all of this stem from one’s reading of ancient writers. The more ancient treasures are stored in mind, the more effortless, certain, and authoritative the results. The best example of this principle of humanism is Montaigne’s Essays.