August 16th, 2012
AP European History
“Explain the ways in which Italian Renaissance humanism transformed ideas about the individual’s role in society.” (1994, #2) The idea about an individual’s role in society was completely transformed in response to Italian Renaissance humanism. During the Middle Ages in Europe, the church tried to make the chief role of man a subject of the clergy- with his only ambition being the safety of his eternal soul. Religion dominated all life- eradicating all individual thought and progression of knowledge. But all of this began to change during the 14th century. The Renaissance gave birth to humanism, which was the flow of intellectual thought that changed the world forever. It inspired man to live to their complete intellectual, artistic, and literary potential. It focused on the dignity of mankind, rather than its dependence on a supernatural figure. It argued that, without religion, human beings are capable of living morally good lives. It evoked the study of liberal arts and the birth of literature. Morality, justice, and reason all were separated by religion, and were responsibilities directly intended for man. Humanism reawakened the masses of knowledge and philosophy from the Greeks and Romans. Humanism transformed the ideas of the individual’s role in society, not only by completely captivating Europe’s noblemen and great thinkers, but also by changing the culture, behavior, and philosophy of 14th century Europe. I. Scholasticism to Humanism
A. St. Thomas Aquinas and the spread of Scholasticism
1. Scholasticism was the method of thought during the twelfth century which articulated the Christian belief and intellectual study. a. Within scholasticism, only a few faculties were studied i. law
b. Scholasticism stressed the possibility of the coexistence of faith and reason. i. Scholastic thought placed God in society. All people and things were subsidiary to God. ii. Reason, in scholasticism, meant
* Logical method
* Step by step thought processes.
c. Scholasticism limited the expansion of natural scientific exploration because of its disregard on concrete facts and how it is a form of realism. 2. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was an Italian theologian, philosopher, and scholastic who combined reason and faith. a. While attending the University of Paris, he took on the mission of his teacher, Albert the Great. i. Their goal was to reveal to the world that the newly discovered writings of Aristotle were not in contradiction of the Christian faith, but in agreement with it. b. Aquinas wrote Summa Theologica
i. Published in 1274 while incomplete
ii. Considered his magnum opus
iii. Covered topics such as God’s existence, man’s purpose and identity, Christ, and the Sacraments c. The doctrines and teachings of Aquinas made the religious world safe for reason, but centralized religion even in the intellectual world B. Petrarch and the spread of Humanism
1. Humanism was the social and cultural philosophy that dominated the writers, scholars, and thinkers of the 14th century during a movement called the Renaissance. a. Within humanism, the liberal arts were studied
i. The quadridium
ii. The tridium
b. Humanism revived the classic Greek literature, which resulted in a secular philosophy. c. Humanism stressed the individual, human potential and purpose. 2. Petrarch was considered the “father of humanism” and the “first man of letters.” a. Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) was a writer, poet, scholar, and early humanist. i. Studied law, ordained for the clergy.
b. He combined the culture of the classical era with the ideology of Christianity, arguing that God created man with great potential of...