These writers all put forward strongly worded and drastically different views of the fundamental nature of man. Alberti saw man as an active being seeking a classical education and a good family in which to raise children, Machiavelli perceived man as craving power and impossible to satisfy, and for Luther man was eternally sinful searching only for faith in God. More significant than their visions of human nature is the physical focus of that nature—body or soul—and how the origin of such a attitude was related to the period in which they were living. While Alberti’s vision of human nature focused on a man’s outward actions shaping his inner soul, Luther saw just the opposite, a man’s soul struggling to achieve what...
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...lberti saw a great potential for man and wanted to outline his vision for others. Machiavelli saw man’s flaws and what it caused, and sought only a cold, practical solution without the nuisance of morals. Luther, devastated by the corruption of the ruling religious authority, wished to save Europe’s Christians from a way of life that would seal their fate as sinners.
Alberti. On the Family. Readings in Western Civilization 5: The Renaissance. Ed. Eric Cochrane and Julius Kirshner. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1986.
The Making of the West, Volume B: 1320-1830. Ed. Lynn Hunt, et al. Bedford/St. Martin's: New York, 2001.
Luther, Martin. On Christian Liberty. Trans. W. A. Lambert. Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 2003.
Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince. Trans. Harvey C. Mansfield. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1998.
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