The European Renaissance, a period between the XIV-XVII centuries, was a time of great cultural, intellectual and scientific progress. From the European discoveries of other continents to transportation routes, new views on mathematics and astronomy, and to the invention of the printing press.
That period was also characterized by a change of ideas, and the realization of many masterpieces of architecture, art and literature (it was the time of Shakespeare, Galileo, Da Vinci and Machiavelli), as well as a movement towards political and religious freedoms.
The focus on political and religious freedom, on the other hand, helped create the Reform Movement, which caused a split within the powerful Catholic Church, forcing many Europeans to convert to the Protestant faith.
An era of new ideas
Stefania Tutino, a professor of history at the University of California, says the Reformation and the Renaissance were two parallel but intertwined movements. “The first had to do with the theological nature and ecclesiastical structure of the true Church of Christ.
“While the second with the renewal of some key cultural, intellectual and artistic principles, in light of the fact that what made sense in the Middle Ages was no longer appropriate, useful or inspiring for a society that had experienced many fundamental changes,” she said.
According to Tutino, scientific advances, including 15th-16th century alternatives to traditional Aristotelian physics and cosmology, and technological innovations such as printing presses, were very important innovative factors.
“Both the Renaissance and the Reformation arose from the realization that the old medieval order was no longer stable, and scientific discoveries and technological innovations were some of the elements that made it clear how inadequate the old structures were,” she added.
The humanist movement
The Renaissance involved an intellectual movement known as Humanism. Among its many principles, humanism promoted the idea that people are at the center of their universe, and that they should embrace human achievements in education, classical arts, literature, and science.
As part of this philosophy, scholars, authors, political leaders, and others sought to revive the study of Greek and Latin classics. liturgical and theological, according to which the hierarchy of the Catholic Church led its flock “- emphasizes Tutino.
In the process, some humanists found many aspects to criticize, and some of their criticisms echoed those of Martin Luther and other early Protestant leaders.
However, Tutino points out, while the goals of the Humanism and Reformation movements were fundamentally different, “there were areas where they coincided.”
According to Ada Palmer, associate professor of early modern European history at the University of Chicago, the humanist movement expanded the range of ideas people were thinking about. “Europe – and especially Italy – was so devastated by the wars, and it had become so desperate and unstable that people really wanted a solution,” she said.
Because ancient Rome was strong and enduring for long periods of power and unity, Palmer points out, it was believed that rereading ancient books from that period could teach people how to replicate Rome’s success.
“So they started looking for ancient texts and translating, reading and copying them, until the ancients became a reference that symbolized political power and ambition. “Very soon many people in good economic condition tried to have a library with the works of ancient classics, as a way to show their power,” says Palmer.
But while the goal of increasing stability failed, one of the side effects of the move was a new demand for books, prompting Gutenberg to invent the printing press.
“Meanwhile, this meant that there were many more ideas about the big questions about how the world works, how it was created, what are the good and bad actions, how religion works, etc. They also studied more ancient Greek and realized that old translations of the Bible and other texts had been mistaken in many places. So they started to do their translations and corrections “- adds the historian.
Martin Luther and Protestantism
Palmer says the Reformation was the culmination of long and slow processes that had begun before the Renaissance, including the corruption of the Catholic Church. In her next book on the Renaissance, she describes a “prisoner dilemma.” “The corruption of the Pope or the Bishops was a great advantage in politics. Whoever did this would win in a certain conflict. “Therefore, no one had the luxury of not giving a bribe to the Pope, because if someone else did, then he was doomed to lose.”
Disappointed by bribery and other church corruptions, including indulgences, which allowed citizens to buy forgiveness of sins, the German monk Martin Luther wrote in 1517 “95 Theses”, which he reportedly hung on the church door in “The gradual accumulation of corruption meant that indulgences were the last straw,” Palmer said.
The power of the print media
The press allowed the theses to be widely and rapidly disseminated throughout Europe. And although he was labeled a heretic by the Church and excommunicated by Pope Leo X in 1521, Luther’s words affected many. “Luther found the right moment to be the first famous preacher. “He also used the right political situation for the governments of the region, which saw his move as a great excuse to do something they wanted to do themselves: get out of the great dilemma of the pope’s prisoners,” Palmer explains. .
In this way, says Palmer, the intellectual movements of the Renaissance led to the Reformation – stimulating the demand for books, and encouraging people to read more and think about how to reform the present.
This included rereading the Bible, as Luther did. Luther, who founded the Lutheran Church, translated the New Testament into German. His translation played a role in initiating the division of the Catholic Church into pope loyalists and Protestants, that is, those who protested against the rules of the Catholic Church.
Nearly the same time, in 1534, King Henry VIII caused further divisions within the Catholic Church when he became head of the Church of England after Pope Clement VII did not allow him to divorce Catherine of Aragon. / History Channel – Bota.al
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