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Humanists and Reformers - Essay Example

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In fact, few perceive reformism as an extension of humanism despite their significant differences and criticism of these two schools…
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Humanists and Reformers
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No. Humanists and Reformers The phenomena of humanism and reformism have been seen as two sides of a same coin due to striking similarities in their fundamental principles. In fact, few perceive reformism as an extension of humanism despite their significant differences and criticism of these two schools of thought over each other’s doctrines. Comparing the work of Erasmus and More with the writings of Martin Luther and John Calvin reveals that humanists and reformists appear to be advocates of removal of corruption and sinful practices in clergymen and higher priests. A simple example is Erasmus’s freedom of will and religious tolerance in comparison with Luther’s rejection of paid indulgence. Another similarity that emerged out of the writings of these four authors is their consideration paid to the importance of early biblical scripts. It has been found that both humanists and reformists used earlier Greek and Latin bibles as a source of understating the early doctrines of Jesus Christ and attempted to promulgate the teachings of earlier scripts along with special attention paid to removal of unjust acts and corrupt people from higher clergy of Christianity. Another striking similarity is their attempt of investigating the core meanings of earlier biblical scripts and their reference to the practices of 16th century instead of simply bringing a reform by questioning church’s authority. Other attributes such as references to practices of early church, criticism on scholastic theological approach and problems in church i.e. simony, pluralism, favoritism and illiteracy in clergymen, also show further similarities (“The Reformations” 4). Reformism has been considered as an ultimate outcome of humanism due these resemblances (Patrick n.d).
Where humanists like Erasmus and More are accused of laying down the foundation of Protestantism, both sects are often found criticizing each other due to some major differences. Erasmus’s and More’s writings have been found more convincing for the elite class with an understanding of Latin. On the other hand, reformists like Luther and Calvin addressed the concerns of every social class when it came to church and its way of functioning as a nucleus of society i.e. authority of religion and society’s civil law. Humanists also showed their adherence to the higher offices of church and did not question the authority of pope as the leader of the church and its proceedings whereas reformers considered only faith as a source of acquiring salvation by following bible. In extension to that, Luther criticized infallibility of the pope and other offices of the church. Humanists sought for changes in the church by supporting the presence of literate priests with variations in the mannerism of Christian worshiping (Patrick 593). On the other hand, Luther questioned fundamental beliefs that acted as the foundation of Christianity by shunning the possibility of human salvation through one’s own deeds. It can be seen that despite all the opposition shown for the corruption in church by virtue of illiteracy, pluralism and other malpractices, humanism remained a supporter of church and pope with most of humanists namely Erasmus and More following Catholic teachings strictly. Writings also reveal that Luther had a rather aggressive tone towards church’s corruption whereas Calvin followed a mild and apologetic tone that reflected his admiration for Erasmus.
Work Cited
Patrcik, James. Renaissance and Reformation. Marshall Cavendish. 2007. Print.
“The Reformation.” Historysage. n.p. 2012. Web. 4th Feb. 2013. Read More
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