The Enduring Revolution of the Renaissance

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The Renaissance is generally described as the period of 1400 - 1600 when European thoughts and concepts went through a dramatic change. It drew its name, the Renaissance, from the reawakening to the ancient texts and knowledge of the Romans and the Greeks…

Introduction


A major contribution of the Renaissance period was its placing knowledge in the hands of the ordinary person. Prior to this period, classical knowledge was left almost exclusively in the hands of scholars, professionals, and theologians. The invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg gave the general public the access to knowledge and philosophy. According to Thomas Carlyle in Sartor Resartus (1833), "He who first shortened the labor of copyists by device of movable types was disbanding hired armies [...] creating a whole new democratic world" (cited in Kreis 2004).
The printing of the first bible in 1452 placed religion in the hands of the ordinary man and had a profound effect on religion. Spurred by classical philosophy, religion turned from the worship of the abstract towards the morality of man (Anesi 2004). This would sow the seeds of the Reformation and alter the Christian religion forever.
This change in religion also brought about changes in the attitude towards the individual. Individualism took hold as people developed a respect for each human being and a willingness to work toward self-improvement. It led to changes in the legal and political systems resulting in a representative form of government. The concept of sovereign nations was born out of these ideals. It valued the humanities as an educational endeavor and developed a sense of history and an awareness of our social structure. ...
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