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The period from the fourteenth century to the seventeenth advocated the liberation of individuals, which meant that more emphasis was placed on personal beliefs.This led to a more diverse spectrum of ideas in society and increased personal development, hence the term “individualism”.
Humanist philosophy soon became an intrinsic component of renaissance life, as there was an increased emphasis on the importance of education.
It became necessary for people to learn ancient Greek and Latin in order to even begin to understand the ancient manuscripts.
With humanists rediscovering ancient writings and adopting new forms of philosophy, literature and art, the printing press became a highly useful tool to spread information to various people across Europe (Renaissance – Printing and Thinking).
With this, many entrepreneurs began printing editions of ancient philosophy and literature in Greek, Latin, and Italian for a mass audience, leading to a dissemination of information and ideas “much wider than previously thought possible” (Cline).
Humanism of the renaissance period was the predominant movement that revolutionized philosophical, intellectual, and literary customs.
It first originated in Italy during the fourteenth century and eventually spread to other major areas in Europe such as Greece.Individualism not only resulted in a less powerful church, but it also triggered an immense change from strict obedience to increased personal expression (Kreis).As a result of the increase of individual expression, new ideas were formed that led to the development of “humanist philosophy” (Cline).Because of individualism, freedom of individual expression and opposition to authority was brought to the surface and soon became an integral part of the western intellectual tradition.In context, individualism was in direct opposition to the ideals of medieval Christianity, which restricted personal expression, fostered self-annihilation, and demanded implicit faith and unquestioning obedience.Interestingly enough, many famous humanists like Petrarch were members of the church; however, they were mostly secular rather than spiritual, exhibiting much more interest in literature, art, and philosophy than in theology.To say the least, renaissance humanism was a “revolution in thinking and feeling which left no part of society, not even the highest levels of Christianity, untouched” (Cline).This led to extended education in the arts and philosophies and even the ancient sciences that had had been neglected by Christian scholars for a long time.As a result, there was an unprecedented burst of scientific and technological development during the renaissance that Europe had not witnessed in centuries (Cline).Additionally, the aforementioned individualism was naturally one of the most crucial components of humanist philosophy, for much of the basis of this type of philosophy was formed from a secular approach (Kreis).One of the most important early humanists was an Italian poet named Petrarch who applied the ideas and values of ancient Greece and Rome to questions about Christian doctrines and ethics that were central topics during the renaissance period.