Category Archives: The Renaissance

Be Content Within Your Own Bounds

Petrarch on not pretending to know more than you know: Let me say, then, that I detect in your writings a constant effort to make a display. This, I take it, accounts for your tendency to roam through strange volumes, … Continue reading

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“New” and “Old”

In one of those times when a whole bunch of stuff that’s been percolating in one’s mind for a good length of time blazingly comes together without being bidden to do so, I offer the following reflection that a chance … Continue reading

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Raised In His Image and Likeness

Giannozzi Manetti (1396-1459) writes in his work On the Dignity of Man that while it is true that man’s life in the body is full of many vexations, at the same time God has provided many good things, both in … Continue reading

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Psychological, Not Epistemological

An important aspect of Renaissance humanism as discussed by Charles Trinkaus is exemplified by Petrarch’s concept of the life of faith as being primarily psychological rather than epistemological. This seems to correspond to the conflicts between humanism and scholasticism, between … Continue reading

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Between Despair and Grace; Bridged by The God-Man

Charles Trinkaus argues intriguingly that the Renaissance ideal of human dignity rested, for the major humanists, on the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation rather than on a pagan-like overestimation of human powers. Trinkaus cites Petrarch, whom he calls “a man … Continue reading

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Renaissance Personalism and Augustine

Discussing the concept of the will as man’s fundamental feature, a concept profoundly shaped by Augustine’s Confessions, Charles Trinkaus points out the very different use of Augustine’s ideas which Renaissance writers such as Petrarch fostered, which differed greatly from Augustine’s … Continue reading

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Reconciling the Two Cities

This author suggests in the middle of his piece that Augustine’s “Two Cities” construct in City of God was akin to Plato’s “Two Worlds,” and that the Renaissance humanists were attempting to overcome the artificial separation and reconcile the Two … Continue reading

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“A Veritable Abyss of Knowledge”

By way of clever and often very funny satire, the French humanist Francois Rabelais (1494-1553) attacked the perceived sterility of Scholastic logic and the world-denial of the traditional monastic orders. One of his attacks came in the form of a … Continue reading

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Platonic Love

“[Love] interprets,” [Diotima] replied, “between gods and men, conveying and taking across to the gods the prayers and sacrifices of men, and to men the commands and replies of the gods; he is the mediator who spans the chasm which … Continue reading

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Erasmus’ Self-Description of His Task As a Christian Humanist

I thought this was interesting enough to translate and post here: I have made an effort in my studies toward nothing other than that I might raise up among us the good books which have been nearly buried; next, that … Continue reading

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