ECON 3R03 Lecture Notes - Jeremy Bentham, Ninety-Five Theses, Montesquieu
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The Renaissance 07/03/2013 Zahra H.
● Occurs at a time at which the Catholic Church is in disrepute—the papacy is just another sinecure. The
Pope no longer acts as the spiritual leader of the spiritual world
– The historian Ranke says of the Popes of this time, “Even depravity may have its perfection.”
● The Renaissance marks a search for authority outside of the Catholic Church
– Affects only a minority of the population
– Christianity is not abandoned, but the Church's authority on matters that are not purely spiritual
– Science, philosophy, art and literature are less influenced by the Church - The Pope was no longer in
power of everything. People would no longer turn to religion for everything. People were more
independent in their thoughts and their beliefs were no longer determined by the Pope or church.
– “Independence of mind”—knowledge, tastes and beliefs not determined by traditional authorities–
The attitude that humanity is capable of mastering the world through intellect applied to many
– “Humanism”: an increased focus on the material world
– Advances in painting, architecture, political philosophy
– The new attitude of painters is very like the new attitude of scientists—it is based on strict observation
Although rooted in Italy, the Renaissance spread throughout Western Europe and as Far East as Poland
– It did not reach the Orthodox world.
● Begins with Martin Luther's “95 Theses” of 1517.
● Luther's original disagreement with the Church was over the sale of indulgences, but the
disagreement widened. Luther argued for:
– “Justification by faith”: salvation comes through faith alone, not through good acts (or the purchase of
indulgences, or the actions of priests). Good acts are for their own sake, not to win favour with God.
– Direct interpretation of the Bible: no need for priests to act as intermediaries Luther would be
followed by other “protestants”:
Zwingli, Calvin, Knox
● Religious differences would fracture Europe until at least the Treaty of Westphalia (1648)
The Scientific Revolution
● Begins with the heliocentric solar system of Copernicus (1543)
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