Protestantism was more compatible with the Renaissance than Catholicism, for several reasons. Certain aspects of the Renaissance were reflected in the origins of Protestantism, like the desire to return to original works, the critique of established beliefs, and most importantly, the emphasis on the individual. The Protestant Reformation also had factors without a significant correlate in the Renaissance, like the growing disapproval of clerical abuses. It must be noted that the Protestant Reformation was less directly impacted by the Italian Renaissance than by the Northern Renaissance, that began around 1460 and was heavily influenced by the Italian Renaissance. Despite the slight differences in period and characteristics, the two renaissances maybe be considered together here since they had similar ways of thought.
One link between the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation is the shared desire to return to the study of classical works. Machiavelli, when writing his magnum opus The Prince, relied on examples from ancient Greek and Rome rather than the middle ages or eras more contemporary to him. He littered his work with classical references to Romulus, Theseus, and Cicero, among others. Cicero in particular had a profound influence on Machiavelli and other Renaissance writers, as evidenced by Petrarch’s apostrophic letters to Cicero. Finally, Renaissance scholars would sometimes turn to classical works and twist them to fit their modern agendas, like declaring that some of Vergil’s works predict the coming of the Christ child. Similarly, the Christian believers that would become pioneers of the Protestant Reformation wanted to return Christian doctrine to the original text, the Bible. These people came to believe that r...
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...he Renaissance was more compatible with Protestantism than Catholicism, since both the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation shared important characteristics, like returning to original works, critiquing established thoughts, and placing an emphasis on the individual. The individualism that characterized the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation may still be seen today. Research has shown that modern people, especially in western countries, tend to describe themselves using individualizing characteristics, like their appearance, occupation, or interests. Additionally, the Protestant Church is still influential in society, with hundreds of millions of worshippers: understanding the Protestant mindset, at least at the start of the Protestant Reformation, may help scholars better understand the Renaissance, based on the close link between the two movements.
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