Riverpoint Writer Essay

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Europe through the Ages
Erick Garcia
October 23, 2014
Dr. J. Randall III
Europe through the Ages

The Renaissance was all about change. A main movement of change that went on during the Renaissance is Humanism. Generally applied to the overreaching social and intellectual philosophies of the Renaissance era. Humanism is the resurgent study of classical antiquity and was first started in Italy before it went widespread throughout Western Europe during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. Before the Renaissance idea of Humanism, there was a counter part of Medieval Scholasticism. The idea of Scholasticism was a method if critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100 to 1700 and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending dogma in an increasingly pluralistic context. Dogma is a set of beliefs that cannot be challenged. Humanism was a response to the challenge of medieval scholasticism. Scholars started to stress human innovation rather than spiritualism. Also promoted investigation of nature through reason and observation ("Humanism in the Renaissance: Recognizing the Beauty of the Individual", n.d.). Humanism is applied to the philosophical and cultural movement that swept across Europe, that ended the Middle Ages and lead into the modern era. Renaissance Humanism were inspired by the classical texts from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome that offered a different outlook on life and humanity, instead of the Christian domination from the previous centuries. Human beings were the central focus of Humanism (Dowling, Mike, 2014). A major change that was thrown out to the public was that more time would be spent on work that would benefit people in their daily lives rather than in the interests of the church. There is also a theory that the bubonic plague that devastated and destroyed Europe cause a drop in the belief that the Church should be the center of life because they were unable to help stop the plague. People prayed and people filled cathedrals, yet loved ones continued to die ("Humanism In The Renaissance: Recognizing The Beauty Of The Individual", n.d.). This was the fire that caused people to look elsewhere for answers and explanations beyond the spiritual for human suffering and loss. Another reason for the decline in the Church was the rise of the market economy. Money began to be amassed through trade. As stated before Italy was the start of the Humanism movement. Italy was continually going through a commercial revolution in the city-state during this point of time. There was a large number of rich people that had a disposable income that helped support a luxurious lifestyle of leisure and arts. With this said, the first of the humanists were wealthy and educated; for example librarians, teachers, businessmen and merchants (Dowling, Mike, 2014). The geographical location of Italy was also a contributing factor to the start of the movement. The location was helpful with having a connection with ancient Rome. Italians at the time felt to be direct descendants of ancient Romans and believed that they were inheritors of Roman Culture. One of the most important early humanists was Petrarch ("Humanism In The Renaissance: Recognizing The Beauty Of The Individual", n.d.). Petrarch was an Italian poet who applied the ideas and values of ancient Greece and Rome to question about Christian doctrine and ethics which were being asked. He abandoned any concern with religious theology in favor of ancient Roman poetry and philosophy. Petrarch argued that our highest goals should not be the imitation of Christ, but rather the principles of virtue and truth as described by the ancients. Although Petrarch was the first to announce the idea and work on the long-forgotten manuscripts, Dante was a great milestone presaged the coming revolution in thinking. There were also political figures that help spread the…