Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The relationship between the invention of the printing press, Humanism, the Renaissance, and the Protestant Reformation

The invention of the printing press and moveable type by Johann Gutenberg in 1450 started a new era of thinking for the people of this time period. Before, reproduction of documents and text could take months just to reproduce one book, whereas now the time was significantly cut down, due to quicker production. This invention shifted the power from the church and the wealthy and made books more readily available to the common man. This started a lot of philosophical understandings and question of traditions that were passed down. It also let the “common man” have an insight to documents of historical importance and religion so that now they could question and understand on a level that they were unable to understand before. It also gave the people a more accessible way to teach themselves to read, write and educate themselves and their families.

With this new invention came Humanism and the Renaissance. Both of these eras were based on an understanding of what it is to be human (what makes us think, feel, and love) and the expression of a new level of creativity. People were becoming more educated and with education comes the questioning of the system of how things have been run in the past. Since people were no longer dependent on the church, they were able to express themselves more freely and see the apparently corruption in the Catholic Church. By doing so also another movement was the Protestant Reformation. This movement was cause by people not accepting the teachings of the Catholic Church and wanting to see a change. Religions began to form and a more intellectual understanding developed, letting people be more individuals instead of sheep following the rest of the flock.

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