Humanism and the Renaissance Essay

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Humanism and Renaissance

Humanism brought MAN to the forefront causing a veritable cultural revolution. Reason and the will to better understand the world fomented progress in the scientific fields. Intellectuals throughout Europe came under the influence of humanism which was disseminated with the invention of the printing press and the guidance of princes. Finally, humanism had a religious impact as well with the protestant reformation and bringing religious pluralism to the west.---

Humanism and the Renaissance ============================

Crises at the the end of the middle ages, i.e. the One Hundred Years War, the plague, famines and the generalised poverty of the peasantry
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With humanism fatalism could be overcome, man could master his destiny and transform the world. Mankind was the source of confidence as he was now deemed to be on earth to seek perfection, master nature and overcome narrow thinking.

This cultural revolution combined with the 'new world' discoveries in America and Asia provoked sweeping changes in all fields: philosophy, religion and science.

Humanistic ideas benefited from the general improvement in living standards underway in Europe as well as the rise in commerce, the invention of the printing press and efforts of kings and benefactors to promote their spread.

1. Man at the center of the universe

A. The printing of ancient texts

In the XIV and at the beginning of the XV century Europe experienced famines, epidemics and wars. For the church these represented God's punishment. In order to buttress this interpretation the church relied on a very rigid interpretation of sacred texts with virtually no explanation provided.

In response, the humanists sought alternative explanations that might explain man's place on earth and in his relationship with God. It was in reading ancient greek and latin texts that they were able to call into question the strict religious grounding so prevalent at the time. The return to ancient texts was in itself radical as it
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