History - Essay Example

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Name of of Professor Title of The Renaissance to The Enlightenment: A Historical Overview It is easy to dismiss something which one makes no effort to understand. Throughout the middle Ages, understanding was infallibly sought with reference to God, religion, and the natural world…
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Download file to see previous pages This paper aims to explore a period in history that radically transformed the manner by which society viewed the world. The Renaissance and Humanism The Renaissance Period started in Northern Italy during the 14th century and scattered all over Europe during the late 15th century (Alchin, “Renaissance Period”). Herein, a new kind of thinking shifted the culture and thought of the Europeans in a totally different light. Indeed, this is why it is called the renaissance, for renaissance means “rebirth” or a new beginning. In this period, a movement, called Humanism dominated the scene. Humanism “is the term generally applied to the predominant social philosophy and intellectual and literary currents of the period from 1400 to 1650” (Kreis “Renaissance Humanism”). Herein, humanists contributed to the rebirth of scholarship, literature and art through a general emancipation of the individual. “The Renaissance passion for what was human and the discovery or rediscovery of this same inclination in the classical world we today call humanism” (Kreis, “The Medieval Synthesis”). Its emergence was a result and reaction towards the medieval period, i.e. The Middle Ages. During the middle ages, Christianity began to globalize, and along with it were challenges. One major challenge was the development of human reason. This was characterized by man’s capacity to rationalize. The Church wanted to explain its teachings through faith alone. Thus, making reason a threat. To compensate for this, Humanist thinkers sought to reconcile religion and science, for according to the Church, they have one common factor, i.e. they both led to a single truth: “God exists” (Kreis, 2009b, n.p.). Furthermore, during the Middle Ages, the dominant view was that of geocentricism. Since the earth was known to be the center of the universe, human beings were made to feel central above all else. It is this view that the Church accepted and advocated. It was not until a major breakthrough by Nicolaus Copernicus that initiated the first and final break from religious dogma. Scientific Revolution and The Enlightenment Herein is the birth of modern science. Since the time of the publication of Copernicus’ On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543), religious authorities and teachings were attacked and questioned. In what ways did this revolution affect the previous worldview? The greatest impact was on how people thought and believed. Due to the rise of modern scientific methods, the geocentric view of the universe was replaced with the new heliocentric theory, which made the sun as the center of the universe. Religion was forced to step down as the source of truth along with the decline of the authority of the Church. Not only did the power of religious authorities decline, so was the nature of human knowledge. “This in turn raised questions about the traditional Human Eternal Verities, i.e. how humans understood themselves in relation to 'God, Nature, and Man'” (“Hatch,” n.d., n.p.). Science was slowly overpowering the powerful image of God. “Science is faith. And the Gospel of that faith was written by Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein and others” (“Kreis,” 2009a, n.p.). The foundation of religion is faith, while science stems from human reason, i.e. the capacity of human beings to think. The former hindered humanity’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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