Italian Renissance And The Reformation Essay

1416 words - 6 pages

Could you imagine living in a time where you had to adhere to everything the church said? For the men and women of the fourteenth century, this was their life; marriages were arranged, men worked while the women would stay home and raise the children. You rested your faith solely in the hands of uneducated “spiritual” leaders.
As Italy’s city-states grew through trade and commerce, they flourished economically and intellectually. This led to a peak in the interest of Classical literature, art, social, and political ideas of Greece/Rome. Humanism was a literary movement that occurred during the Renaissance. During this movement, authors began to deal with general questions of the soul. Dante wrote about the soul’s journey to salvation. Petrarch, another renowned author from Italy, began to write epics and sonnets; he later became known as the “Father of The Italian Renaissance”. Aside from the Italian peak of literature, there was also a sudden interest in classical art. Previously, all artwork was pertaining to religion. However there were some creators who dared to oppose the status quo. Michelangelo, a famous sculptor, painter and architect, had a strong passion for creating; he was the mastermind behind many marble statuettes in Italy. Jan Van Eyek became one of the first to use oil paintings. As time progressed, art began to shift from a religious focus to a more secular focus.
The Catholic Church was heading down the road of destruction. The popes of the Papal States acted as politicians, rather than religious leaders. They became power hungry and started using the church offices to make money; indulgences were sold to buy your soul’s salvation, heavy tithes/offerings were requested. Many people opposed these practices but, no one had half the guts to do something about, for fear of being excommunicated. Christian humanists began to push for a change; they believed in order to change society, you must first change the humans who make up the society. Among all the humanists, the three most important were Erasmus, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. Erasmus stressed the simplicity of living a good life daily. He emphasized the human’s ability to reason for itself. He didn’t want to break away from the church, unlike Martin Luther. Martin Luther was a monk and professor in Germany, he was dubious in the church, so he studied the Bible himself. Through his studies he came to his own conclusion of salvation and how to achieve it. The Catholic Church taught the people that faith and good works were the way to gain salvation; whereas Luther saw humans as powerless in the eye of God, he believed the only way to achieve salvation was through faith in God and repentance. First, Luther called on German princes to overthrow the papacy; then he proceeded to attack the sacraments or rituals performed by the church, however, with all these changes he did keep two things: baptism and Eucharist. When the pope found out about Luther’s 95 Theses, he...

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