The Essential Questions

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RENAISSANCE
How can the Renaissance be used as a springboard for defining modernity?

With the Renaissance, the interest shifted to the earthly realm of nature. In some respects, this was a good thing: nature received a more proper place. From a biblical viewpoint nature is important because it has been created by God, and is not to be despised. The things of the body are not to be despised when compared with the soul. The things of beauty are important. Sexual things are not evil of themselves. All these things follow from the fact that in nature God has given us a good gift, and the man who regards it with contempt is really despising Gods creation. The Renaissance also had a number of serious negative effects. In particular, Schaeffer claims that in Aquinas the intellect of man was not seen as being affected by the fall (which is in fact not true), and the intellect of man was increasingly seen as autonomous. This has several effects. First, there is the development of natural theology, theology developed without reference to Scripture. In this version of the relation of Renaissance and modernity, there are in fact two modernities: the first is the modernity of the Renaissance, and the second is the modernity of the counter-Renaissance that is associated with the Enlightenment. Humanists Eand anti-Cartesians continued to write throughout the period of the counter-Renaissance, but the counter-Renaissance won the day. Rationalism and foundationalism of the modern period is a logical or direct outgrowth of the Renaissance, but in some important ways a reversal of the original Renaissance spirit.

Compare and contrast the Northern Renaissance with the Mediterranean Renaissance?

In some areas the Northern Renaissance was distinct from the Italian Renaissance in its centralization of political power. While Italy and Germany were dominated by independent city-states, parts of central and western Europe began emerging as nation-states. The Northern Renaissance was also closely linked to the Protestant Reformation and the long series of internal and external conflicts between various Protestant groups and the Roman Catholic Church had lasting effects, such as the division of the Netherlands. The Italian Renaissance is best known for its cultural achievements. Italian Renaissance literature includes such figures as the humanists Petrarch Boccaccio other renaissance humanists such as Poliziano, Marsilio Ficino, Lorenzo Valla, Aldo Manuzio, Poggio Bracciolini, the renaissance epic authors Castiglione, Ludovico Ariosto and Torquato Tasso and prose authors such as Machiavelli. Italian Renaissance painting exercised a dominant influence on Western painting for centuries afterwards, with artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Titian, and Leonardo da Vinci, and the same is true for architecture, with Andrea Palladio and works such as Florence Cathedral and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome: see Renaissance architecture. At the same time, some present-day historians also see the era as one of economic regression and of little progress in science, which made its great leaps forward among Protestant culture in the seventeenth century. The Renaissance outside of Italy combined a little bit of the old, Italian style with some of the new Northern Renaissance style. This renaissance was spurred by the invention of the printing press.

REFORMATION
Compare and contrast Martin Luther and John Calvin from economic, religious and social perspectives.

Compare and Contrast Martin Luther and John Calvin. Martin Luther and John Calvin were both very important leaders of the Protestant Reformation. Although they were both against the Roman Catholic Church, they brought about very different ideas in religion. Martin Luther founded the group that are today known as Lutherans. He was ordained a priest in 1507. He dealt with questions dealing with the structure of the church and with its moral values. These questions were important...
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