In scholarship, classical (Renaissance) humanism is usually strictly distinguished from 'neo-humanism', which, especially in Germany, flourished at the beginning of the 19th century. While most classical humanists focused on the practical imitation of Latin stylistic models, 'neohumanism' is commonly believed to have been mainly inspired by typically modern values, such as authenticity and historicity.
Bas van Bommel shows that whereas 'neohumanism' was mainly adhered to at the German universities, at the Gymnasien a much more traditional educational ideal prevailed, which is best described as 'classical humanism.' This ideal involved the prioritisation of the Romans above the Greeks, as well as the belief that imitation of Roman and Greek models brings about man's aesthetic and moral elevation.
Van Bommel makes clear that 19th century classical humanism dynamically related to modern society. On the one hand, classical humanists explained the value of classical education in typically modern terms. On the other hand, competitors of the classical Gymnasium laid claim to values that were ultimately derived from classical humanism. 19th century classical humanism should therefore not be seen as a dried-out remnant of a dying past, but as the continuation of a living tradition.