Renaissance Humanism

The second great theme to be surveyed in this chapter is the movement known as 'humanism', which is closely linked with the northern European Renaissance of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries (Burke 1986). A central component of the world-view of the Italian Renaissance is a return to the cultural glories of antiquity, and a marginalization of the intellectual achievements of the Middle Ages (Kristeller 1979). Renaissance writers had scant regard for these, regarding them as outweighed by the greater achievements of antiquity. What was true of culture in general was also true of theology: they regarded the late classical period as totally overshadowing the theological writings of the Middle Ages, both in substance and in style.

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