Arguably the greatest and longest impacting movement brought about by the forward thinkers of the Renaissance was humanism. Humanism was a cultural and intellectual movement that emphasized the human potential to attain excellence through direct study of the literature, art, and civilization of the classical Greek and Roman societies (Merriam-Webster). The scholars and believers in humanism sought to change the course of society away from the narrow pedantry of medieval scholasticism and utilitarianism. Humanism was a basic desire for every citizen to be able to speak with eloquence and read and write with clarity, so that common citizens were capable of engaging in the civic life of their communities (Gray). The movement also emphasized the value of a human being as well as the importance of rational thought rather than blind faith in spiritualism or superstition. It also pushed people to explore human desires and pleasures while also enriching their minds. The influential nature of humanism was far reaching and most notable for its effects on Renaissance art, literature, and philosophy.
In his work, Candide, Voltaire uses satire as a means of conveying his opinions about many aspects of European society in the eighteenth century, a period known as the Enlightenment. This Age of Reason swept through Europe, offering differing views on science, religion, and politics. The following essay will outline the philosophical theory of Pangloss, a character of the novel and suggest how his optimistic worldview is challenged by numerous disasters. I will also justify the reasons Voltaire attacks hypocrisy, most prevalent in religion, and displays the cruel actions of the priests, monks, and other religious leaders. In the
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary gives several definitions for humanism, a word which made its appearance in 1832. The first is "a devotion to the humanities or the revival of class, individualistic and critical spirit, and emphasis on secular concerns characteristic of the Renaissance." Renaissance is capitalized. Another definition reads as follows: "a doctrine, attitude, or
Erasmus ridiculed those who thought this way, a tactic he used skillfully in order to gain more followers. He published a book named Encomium Moriae, translated as The Praise of Folly. The book was originally created to amuse Erasmus’s friend, Thomas More. The book includes a bantering tone and clearly attacks theologians of this time period. The mere thought of this book angered the priests and of course, this did not stop Erasmus from spreading his statements of ridicule across the lands of which he travelled. It did not take long for Erasmus to target Pope Julius II, nicknamed “The Fearsome Pope” and “The Warrior Pope”. Erasmus produced a skit that was created to ridicule Pope Julius II to all extents; it was named Iulias exclusus. Soon after Pope Julius II’s death, the skit spread like wild fire amongst the communities, quickly becoming the hot topic of various cities. The Roman Curia of the Holy See were very displeased with Erasmus and his actions. The Curia acted in the name of Pope Julius II, so when they learned of Erasmus’s cruel jokes, they longed for Erasmus to stop his nonsense and spend the rest of his days in remorseful piety (Manchester 126).
Although many Historians may argue that Erasmus was the biggest promoter of change during the Reformation it was actually Luther that was the biggest promoter of change during the Reformation because he was the one that found the things wrong with the church and everyone else was influenced by him. According to Document C it states eight of the 95 things Luther found wrong with the Church. The six thesis states “ The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring and showing that it has been remitted by God; or to be sure, by remitting in cases reserved to his judgement...Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better deed than he who buys indulgences” This is pretty much stating that the pope
Christ Blessing, Surrounded by a Donor Family (1573-1582) offers valuable insight into a changing European landscape during the sixteenth century. The Protestant Reformation, which reached its climax during this era, rejected many aspects of Catholicism. Among other things, Protestants believed that each individual should read the Bible and develop a meaningful connection to G-d rather than limiting the Bible to the clergy’s interpretation.1 This Protestant belief and other tenets of the Reformers are evident in the Reformation’s art. Christ Blessing, Surrounded by a Donor Family demonstrates the manner in which the cultural shift from Catholicism to Protestantism in Northern Europe during the Reformation was reflected in that era’s art.
The period of Roman time between the 5th and 15th century is known as the middle ages, this certain period in time involved the fall of the Roman Empire and the evolution of the renaissance period. The renaissance was a time of rebirth during which massive changes occurred which would subsequently impact the Catholic Church. This later period is known as the Reformation. The Reformation was quite the violent time period in Europe. In the wars of religion, family members were often in conflict. Both the Protestants and Catholics thought they were a hundred percent correct and that the other religion was part of the 'devil's work'. There were many influential people in relation to the Reformation, one of them being Martin Luther. This essay
Purity and Civility in The Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus and Of Cannibals by Michel de Montaigne
In addition to using irony to attack religious hypocrisy, Voltaire’s Candide uses irony to contest the ineffectiveness of logical conjecture, the demoralization of people by greed, and
Erasmus even includes himself as a subject of this whimsical criticism showing that it is meant to be constructive not harshly judgmental as it was taken by his many critics. His criticisms of wise men, Seneca, women, and pedantry all apply to himself and he jokes about them all (xvi). He knows that, in her first and most humorous voice, Folly is criticizing aspects of life that are of small significance in comparison to her later targets, and Erasmus takes no shame in admitting his participation in such minor foolishness. With Folly’s first voice, Erasmus points out the insignificant foolishness that plays into every person’s life, including his own, with
Today, Candide is used in the study of European Enlightenment thinkers and philosophers as a first-hand account of the faults within the value systems of government, religion, and society during the 18th Century. Through its sarcastic portrayal of seemingly absurd customs and traditions, Candide illustrates Europe in all of its flawed glory. As a prominent figure of the Enlightenment, Voltaire sought to publicize his views on society in a digestible, entertaining, and condensed medium like Candide (“Voltaire”). Written in a period of exile and fear in his life, Candide acted as Voltaire’s biting response to the crushing weight of outdated societal customs.
“We could keep on arguing for a hundred years and it wouldn’t get us anywhere! Until you can get rid of my verse I will not admit defeat.” (Documents on the Continental Reformation, p.97) When people are liberated with the power to think for themselves and own their own ideas, differences in opinion will occur. When we look at the Protestant Reformation we will see that key individuals such as Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli, even though they are protesting similar things, develop differences upon the way, especially in the way they interpret Scripture. These differences, in any movement, will ultimately affect the outcome and the development of the Protestant movement that started in 1517 with Luther. This essay aims to examine these differences between Luther and Zwingli and find out how the Protestant movement was affected by their differing opinions. Firstly, Luther and Zwingli’s reformations will be observed individually and what they each stood for and then we will discuss their major differences and the influence they had on the Protestant movement.
It has been speculated that Dante’s Divinia Commedia was written sometime in the early fourteenth century; however, English translations did not appear until nearly five hundred years later, at the beginning of the nineteenth century. This disparity and resistance to translations of the text into English might be connected to the results of the Protestant reformation and a Protestant ideology that would have viewed Dante’s scholastic Catholic theology, with its dense classical mythology references, as heretical. Given that at the turn of the nineteenth century language standardization was becoming popularized in Western Europe contexts, it makes sense that the Protestant resistance to translating Dante’s poem was overridden by secular undertakings in academia to establish the text as one that uniquely contributes to culture and language. Since its first English translation in 1802, about one hundred English translations have been published of the text, signifying its popularity in modern contexts. For a discussion of
The attendant effects of Martin Luther’s reformation in the early period of the sixteenth century occasioned by his posting of the 95 theses that raised objections to some of the then prevalent practices of the Roman Catholic Church eventually led to a significant breakaway from the church of a relatively more liberal Christian sect known as the “Protestant”. It is worthy of note however that the Roman Catholic Church tried albeit unsuccessfully to placate the breakaway by instituting a “counter-Reformation” but this only achieved a cleansing of the church internally without achieving much in its most important mandate to prevent the protestant breakaway. Consequently, Europe was enmeshed in bloody religious war largely between forces loyal to the papacy in Rome and those who sympathized with the runaway protestant movement. As a result, the Roman Catholic Church invariably began to lose its pole position in the scheme of things in an already divided Europe.
Erasmus believes in the need of a universal language, both in verse and prose. He was well versed in Latin and in Greek. Erasmus and Thomas More were both staunch Catholics, opposed the reformation as proposed by Martin Luther but thought the church needed 'adjustments'. Erasmus differed from some of More's ideas, for instance he believed in free will of the individual, whereas More did not. They all advocated social reform and were interested in improvement for society. Erasmus thought science unworthy of a gentleman. "Erasmus appeared as a responsible and constructive critic of society. He attacked the superstition and formalism of late medieval religion, offering in their place a simple piety that could appeal to all levels of society."(Wilcox)