THE CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE RENAISANCE HUMANISM OUTLINE
-THE SIGNIF ICANT EVENTS IN THE RENAISANSE PERIOD
-THE CHAMPIONS OF RENAISANCE HUMANISM
-RENAISANCE HUMANISM AND THE REFORMATION
-EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION
In the history of the world, many remarkable periods have been referred to most often due to perhaps great events that have led to a turn-around in the thoughts and general lives of the people. One of such periods is the renaissance humanism. The renaissance humanism is a term used to designate a period in history that is so spectacular and significant owing to its evolutionary of features. Renaissance here serves as an adjective to the word humanism; not any other type of humanism but the humanism of the renaissance period. This period falls from 14th to 16th century AD. The Church is and shall always be a society within a society. The relatedness between the church and the state or civil society has ever brought a kind of exchange in operations and thoughts. Thus, one of the causes of the renaissance humanism is not far from what happened and was happening in the church as at that time. Consequently, the effect of the renaissance period could be said to have been felt by he church in many ways and more especially as it went as far as forming a foundation for the “reformation” championed by such a personality like Martin Luther However , we shall explain in details what each of these terms mean, why they are called so , the key players or those that championed such an important period in history, the important features of renaissance humanism and it s evaluation and conclusion. In the course of this discourse, the approach shall be critical.
WHAT IS RENAISSANCE?
In the literary sense, it means “Rebirth”. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary ( 7th edition) defined it as “the period in Europe during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries when people became in the ideas and culture of ancient Greece and Rome and used these influences in their art, literature etc”. The Encyclopedia Britannica explaining the Renaissance says it is; “literally “rebirth,” the period in European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages, conventionally held to have been characterized by a surge of interest in classical learning and values. The Renaissance also witnessed the discovery and exploration of new continents, the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the decline of the feudal system and the growth of commerce, and the invention or application of such potentially powerful innovations as paper, printing, the mariner's compass, and gunpowder. To the scholars and thinkers of the day, however, it was primarily a time of the revival of classical learning and wisdom after a long period of cultural decline and stagnation”. This period appears to have a sharp break from religious and medieval values. Great historians like Jules Michelet and Jacob Burckhardt say that it is the “rediscovery of the world and man” and if this is so, it is more on the areas of literature and art. It is also within this renaissance period that the industrial revolution and the French revolution took place. So, the intellectual ventures of this period never hung on the air nor did it end in an utopia idealism but it manifested in many facets of the government of many countries in Europe. The Catholic Church was not also left out in this trend or historical situation as we shall see later. WHAT IS HUMANISM?
Humanism as the name suggests imply a movement that has a significant focus on man. It is an intellectual movement. In the medieval ages, the scholastics and many religious thinkers influenced the people and the world ideas but during the humanistic period, the thoughts came from secular men or men of letters. Great minds like Dante della Mirandola, Collucio Saluti and Lorenza...
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