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Sources of Western Tradition. 4 Eras of Thinking: Renaissance & Reformation Scientific Revolution Enlightenment French Revolution. Humanists. Petrarch: the father of humanism Loved classical literature (Greek and Roman texts) and criticized medieval literature for its barbarous ways.

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sources of western tradition

Sources of Western Tradition

4 Eras of Thinking:

Renaissance & Reformation

Scientific Revolution


French Revolution

  • Petrarch: the father of humanism
  • Loved classical literature (Greek and Roman texts) and criticized medieval literature for its barbarous ways.
  • He saw the Renaissance as a restoration of these great writings and ideas.
  • He remained a devout Christian above all else, combining his passion for the classics with Christianity.
  • Bruni: A Focus on Education
  • Man who coined the term “humanism”, meaning, “new learning”, or more specifically “literary culture needed by anyone who would be considered educated and civilized”.
  • He emphasized virtuous living through Christianity and study of the classics.
mirandola vs machiavelli
Mirandola vs. Machiavelli
  • Pocco della Mirandola: Human Dignity
  • Renaissance Man: mastered Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Arabic.
  • Another humanist who believed that God bestowed upon humans a unique ability to control our own lives and expand to great lengths.
  • Thought humans are dignified and powerful – their overall intent is positive.
  • Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince
  • First thinker to break from ideology based primarily on Christianity; his main focus was the well-being of the state and its power.
  • He contended that a ruler should forget morals and religion and focus on material supremacy.
  • “Better to be feared than loved”, “the ends justify the means”.
  • How are these two thinkers opposites?
copernicus vs the church
Copernicus vs. The Church
  • Nicolaus Copernicus
  • Long debated publishing his works defying common knowledge for almost hundreds of years.
  • Found contradictions and blatant mistakes in previous writing about the universe.
  • Reluctantly stated that he believed the universe was heliocentric.
  • Cardinal Bellarmine’s letter to a friar
  • Uses the Bible as main evidence that Copernicus is wrong.
  • “If this is true, the Bible is completely false and the Christian religion is bogus.”
  • Notes that the Council of Trent says interpreting scripture against the Church is wrong.
the other sci revolutionaries
The Other Sci-Revolutionaries
  • Galileo
  • Hated the slavish reliance on Aristotle and the Bible for scientific evidence
  • Used telescope to survey the sky and prove Copernicus’ theory.
  • Rene Descartes: Founder of Modern Philosophy
  • Gave people understanding that their minds are very powerful
  • Stressed experimentation over reliance on what you are told.
  • Isaac Newton: The Synthesizer
  • Proved that all bodies – an apple or a planet – follow the same laws of gravity.
  • Believed that God created the universe – a perfect mechanism
  • Helped combine all previous thinkers and himself into Universal Law.
enlightenment leaders
Enlightenment Leaders
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Defined the Enlightenment as a rebirth of the intellect.
  • Saw French Revolution as victory of liberty over despotism.
  • Voltaire
  • Admired English liberty and toleration and attacked Old Regime for lack of them.
  • Attacked Christianity as superstition and supported “reason” over religion.
  • Supported religious tolerance as common sense and harmless.
locke and rousseau
Locke and Rousseau
  • John Locke
  • Humans are born with natural rights of life, liberty, and property.
  • The state’s job is to ensure that each subject has these rights.
  • All people are born equal and should be represented only by a constitutional government that they elect.
  • Had HUGE influence on T.J. and the Declaration of Independence.
  • Rousseau
  • Education is the key to a successful society.
  • Against monarchy, for public liberty.
  • Children should “develop naturally and spontaneously.”
  • New information = more human understanding = corruption of the mind.
young and siey s
Young and Sieyès
  • Arthur Young
  • Explains the taxing system of the French peasants.
  • Tells of terrible plight of the French peasants.
  • Why would a well-rounded Englishman travel through the French countryside to survey peasants? [just before the revolution]
  • Emmanuel Sieyès
  • Expressed the bourgeoisie’s disdain for the nobility.
  • He expresses the French Revolution’s ideals – liberty, equality, and fraternity – throughout his works.
maximilien robespierre
Maximilien Robespierre
  • Used virtue as driving force of democracy.
  • Explained that terror is the justified means to defend this virtue.
  • Man behind the Reign of Terror.