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Renaissance Education

Uploaded by Brent R Goodin on May 09, 2004

Amidst social unrest and intellectual stagnation, 14th and 15th century scholars argued, emerged the Renaissance, the “rebirth.” It did not take long for this pervasive and intriguing way of life to escape from the confines of small 14th century city-states in Italy to receptive Europeans around them. The new avant-garde outlook adopted by Europe as a whole encompassed an array of ideas, beliefs, and means of expressive creativity. The humanism of the Italian Renaissance gave birth to the modern concept of individuality. New individualism spurred learning, artistic vision, burgeoning interests in cultures and sciences, and a love of antiquity. The values and purposes of Renaissance education were to improve society, increase economic prosperity, and restore religious beliefs.
Intellectual endeavor “touched upon studies (grammar, rhetoric, geometry, music, Philosophy, and Humanities) by which we (the nobility) may attain enlightenment of the mind (Doc 1, 2).” This is the obsession that blazed inside every “Prince,” every noble, every leading citizen, and all those that considered themselves part and parcel of upper class lifestyle (Doc 1). From this thirst for knowledge developed the Renaissance Man. The Renaissance Man was a paragon of “civic humanism.” Based on the idea that man is a social animal, he was supposed to be a disciplined as well as an integrated member of society. He would exude confidence and demonstrate virtue by putting the good of the community first, cultivating his mind, fulfilling his role as an exemplary citizen, and taking care of his family. Being a citizen meant more than just living in the city; it meant being immersed in city life and politics by active service to the state. To attain this state, education was a prerequisite.
The social lives of people were greatly influenced by advancements in education. Institutes for “Learning and training in Virtue” were mechanisms of self-betterment and furthermore civil righteousness (Doc 2). People were taught to understand and judge the writings of others. Francesco Petrarch, the great Renaissance humanist, noted the vast popularity that classical literature had gained in the then recent past; by first writing his works in vernacular he increased the potential audience for his humanist ideas. The Italian humanist Piccolomini, who himself was educated, believed that philosophy and literature, should be taught to individuals, because these studies revealed the truths about the...

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Uploaded by:   Brent R Goodin

Date:   05/09/2004

Category:   European History

Length:   7 pages (1,667 words)

Views:   3255

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