Essay about Italian Renissance and the Reformation

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Imagine a time when disease is rampant and wars last decades. Imagine that God himself seems to have fallen silent despite the suffering in the world. How would you react? What would become of society? For the people of Europe, the answer was the Renaissance. For centuries now, Europe had been a place of great hardship. The Black Death had killed over two-thirds of the population, leading to soaring labor costs and a heavy sense of sadness. In the Catholic Church, the Great Schism between the eastern and western halves of the Church created a loss of faith and questions about religious authority. Seemingly endless wars, such as the Hundred Year’s War between France and England, were just now coming to an end, finally giving the …show more content…
At the same time, the era produced several incredible “Renaissance Men” such as Leonardo da Vinci, an artist and scientist who is still highly revered in modern times. However, most of these things were confined to Italy at the time, until trade and wars drove new ideas farther north. Outside of Italy, humanism took a very different, more spiritually-centered route. The idea of the power of individuals to improve themselves gave root to Christian humanism, which emphasized inward religiousness and simple forms of worship. Because the Catholic Church’s ideals were very far from this new way of thinking, people began to call it out for its supposed wrongs. Desiderius Erasmus was one of the first to do so, writing The Praise of Folly, a book full of criticism aimed at the Church. Many complained about the selling of indulgences, which was virtually the selling of salvation. People began to argue about what must be done to get into heaven—were good works truly needed to be saved, when humans were incapable of doing anything good enough for the Lord? Also, many clergy weren’t properly qualified to hold such positions, and were unable to give the good advice required of their station. Martin Luther was another man who spoke up to the Church. He wrote a letter, The Ninety Five Theses, in which he described the wrongs of the Church. Although it wasn’t his original intention, Luther ended up

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