• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How important were the ideas of the Humanists in weakening the authority of the Church in the years before the Reformation?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How important were the ideas of the Humanists in weakening the authority of the Church in the years before the Reformation ? To answer this question we need to define certain key points and people. The Humanists in question are the Christian Humanists that were around in this time with people like Erasmus and Thomas More on the front line. The Christian Humanists believed in going back to old scriptures and texts to rediscover truths about Christianity. They believed that man could achieve enlightenment through the bible and not going through the Catholic Church to be with God. There were many followers of this movement including the educated, royalty, religious reformers and those who questioned the Catholic Church structure. The aims of these people were to educate people straight from the bible, challenge the vulgate and its inaccuracies, abolish the corruption of the Catholic Church and to promote simple piety that reflected medieval scholasticism. By the "Church" I am referring to the Roman Catholic Church. The Church had a tremendous amount of authority before the reformation in 1517 and had the power to influence a large percentage of the population and the Humanists did a great deal in 'weakening the authority' that the Church had and so were a big part of the Reformation. I believe that the Humanists played one of the biggest parts in weakening the authority of the church and my main reason for this is the works or Erasmus and most importantly the translation of the Vulgate into Greek in 1516. ...read more.

Middle

The text claims that the Donation was Constantine's gift to Sylvester for instructing him in the Christian faith, baptizing him and miraculously curing him of leprosy. As this was found out to be a fraud big questions started to arise about the legitimacy of the church. The Church therefore should not have the power that it has in 1516 and this spurred ongoing investigations into the corruption of the church. Continuing from above, there were continued questions about the corruption inside the church and although the humanists weren't responsible directly for the criticizing they did join in. The big abuses were simony, pluralism and absenteeism. Simony was the buying and selling of church positions (benefices), pluralism was the holding of more than one benefice and leading on from that was absenteeism which was when a person did not reside in the diocese that they owned. Examples of people who suffered from all of these abuses are, the Archbishop of Sens, Albert the Archbishop of Mainz and probably the most well known Cardinal Wolsey. Among the higher clergy it wasn't uncommon to have large houses, paintings, servants, fine food and a family. There were also monasteries and convents that were cashing in from the ability to work the land, produce food and wool and live a generally anticlerical life. There was also whats known as Renaissance Popes like Leo X who was educated by humanist teachers and loved the arts and syphoned funds for the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion it is necessary to look back at the question posed and summarize the key points of the humanist ideas that weakened the authority of the church in the years before the reformation. The most important reason were the works of Erasmus and especially his new testament. This helped with one of the important aspects of humanist teachings to be closer to God with personal piety and not going directly through the Catholic Church to find salvation. The finding that the Donation of Constance was a fake was a big blow to the church and gave the humanists ammo to attack with and use to show how the church was a fraud and corrupt. The church was corrupt anyway with so many higher clergy committing abuses, many lower clergy weren't fit for the job and the Renaissance Popes just had a good time and not tending to the appropriate godly activities. The printing press was the platform that gave humanism and many other religious sects the ability to share their ideas and thoughts and without it could never have got as far as they did. Then at last there are the missed chances of the church to reform early on and avoid the storm that they had to deal with in the years following. If they had only heeded the warnings given by Erasmus and other scholars then maybe the world would be shaped very differently to how it is today. Ollie Plunkett 17/10/09 Ollie Plunkett 17/10/09 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Historical Periods section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Historical Periods essays

  1. Research Paper; The Important Scientific Discoveries of the Renaissance: Medicine

    the medical training provided in universities was lengthier, more systematic, and more thorough than anywhere else. It offered direct access to the widest range of authoritative medical information. Ambitious practitioners sought out university training, despite its duration and expense, because it let them begin their careers in a position in

  2. How far was personal gain the motivation for Imperial Princes to join Luthers Reformation? ...

    There increased power allowed the princes to then pay mercenaries to fight local, weaker, princes and gain there land too adding to their already growing power and making the emperor weaker lessen his control over the states, mainly in north and east Germany where Lutheranism was most common.Frederick 'the Wise'

  1. How important was the role of the princes in bringing about the success of ...

    Now Maurice of Saxony both gave assistance and hinderance to the success of the Lutheran Reformation.

  2. The Roman Catholic Church was becoming increasingly unpopular in the Holy Roman Empire before ...

    Bishops, receiving rents from ordinary people, would need to pay a proportion of their profits, also known as ?annates? to their superiors in the church. This would in turn often be imposed on the ordinary people again as the bishops attempt to match gain with loss and obtain a profit.

  1. Why was Luther able to challenge the Catholic Church so successfully in the years ...

    The main reason Wise supported Luther was because Luther was a teacher at his University and Wise did not want it to gain a bad reputation. However, other reasons can also be considered such as the fact that Luther?s ideas proved popular and therefore Frederick was happy to support him.

  2. How accurate is it to say that the controversy over indulgences were merely the ...

    unnecessarily large and interfering only but popes were Italian, this increase antipapalism and increased German nationalism. The resentment over the numerous papal taxes can also be seen as a fundamental cause. The church exploited the Holy Roman Empire for its wealth but the money they gave to the papacy was never seen again.

  1. Why was there a reformation in Germany in the 16th century?

    A comparison between the stained glass of Canterbury Cathedral and written accounts of Thomas Becket?s miracles demonstrate revealing consistency. Sex The medieval period saw the birth of the concept of Courtly Love, when a new emphasis was placed on elevated passion.

  2. Notes on Cleopatra and her links with Rome

    murder her son Ptolemy XV Caesarion and annexed the country for himself. Political structure The government of the Ptolemies was centralized and bureaucratic. They inherited a political system that was already strongly centralized, headed by the god-king (pharaoh). This system prevailed during the Hellenistic Age and was strengthened and made more efficient by the Ptolemies.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work