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The Impact of Printing Press in Europe

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The Impact of Printing Press in Europe

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  • March 18, 2011
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The Impact of Printing in Europe
Introduction
Even though reading and writing skills were regarded advantageous in medieval Europe, it remains a practical skill for many, a criterion rather than a cultural requirement. Numerous medieval rulers and even Church prelates were uneducated; however, they were urbane or civilized, for they had appointed scribes and readers. The significance of literacy as a sensible qualification is shown in the laws formulated by an archbishop of York in 1483 for a university he established in which one of the objectives of the college was alleged to be that “youths may be rendered more capable for the mechanic arts and other worldly affairs” (Kamen 2000: 212). The practical value of literacy would at all times be essential. The ultimate practical use was apparently in the purposes of the Church, since merely a knowledgeable clergy may be the authorities of religious life. In other words, literacy was the Church’s protection, which had supreme control over education. The invention of printing, entailing more efficient and more economical means of book production, transformed the dilemma of illiteracy. Francis Bacon, living in the period directly after the introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press, illustrated as one of the remarkable inventions of the century which had revolutionized the form and condition of the entire world (Hill 2001). The objective of this paper is to explore the impact of the printing press on the authority of the Church and aristocracy in Europe as well as its contribution in the profound social and political changes that the continent experienced in the iron century. The Impact of the Printing Press on the Authority of the Church and Aristocracy in Europe The absolute goal of making the population literate was to persuade them of the rightness of their own points of view. The period of the Counter Reformation can hence be viewed as an extended practice in the development of methods of persuasion. It was the...