The Influence Of The Renaissance On Early Modern Education Essay Examples

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Education, Students, Art, Renaissance, Church, Europe, History, City

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2021/02/01

The Effect Of Renaissance

On Early Modern Europe's Academic Life
The era of the late European Middle Ages, which took place under the sign of the humanistic ideas of the Renaissance (end of XIV-the beginning of the XVII century) was the beautiful period in the history of the world culture and the pedagogical thought. The best minds of Europe at that time declared the human as the main value on earth and they have developed the new forms and methods of education, seeking to reveal all the best in a man. In philosophical and pedagogical thought in an updated form it was appeared the ideal of personality, which was developed spiritually and physically. This ideal was formed under the influence of the specific historical conditions. The outstanding representatives of the Renaissance often were the carriers of such ideals, being the standards of wisdom, morality, and spirituality (Brotton 2006).
The humanist movement of the Renaissance emerged as a consequence of changes in the medieval outlook. This outlook was kept by the Catholic Church. If the church taught that man in the vale of life must lay one`s hopes on God, then the people of the new ideology could hope only on themselves, their strength and intelligence (Kristeller 1961).
Thesis. The nascent signs of the humanistic pedagogy appeared in many countries in the conditions of the awakening of the national consciousness. The surge of the pedagogical thought was closely associated with the intensive development of art, literature, scientific knowledge. The world after the great geographical discoveries of XV - XVI centuries became for Europeans more extensive and multifaceted. The spread of a new culture and education was contributed by the typography, which was invented in the middle of the XV century. The humanists of the Renaissance are not the scientists and philosophers in the usual sense of the word. A typical representative of the Renaissance is a synthesis of urban aristocracy, encyclopedic scholar, social activist and philanthropist, and even a sort of journalist.

Renaissance and Academic Life

Humanists have rediscovered that ancient Greece and Rome did so much for culture and education. In an effort to imitate them they called their time as Renaissance. That means the restoration of the ancient traditions. In Greco-Roman culture they saw the reflection of all the best in man and nature. Humanists were attracted by a free spirit, beauty and expressiveness of the images of classical literature, which represented for them the ideals of education. In the classical heritage they tried to borrow the lost traditions of educating of the physically and aesthetically developed person, which was capable for independent and useful for the society actions (Spielvogel 2013).
During the thinking about the physical perfection of man, the humanist’s pedagogues took a lot from the education of the knights. The Renaissance educational triad (a classical education, a physical development, a civic education) included three main components: the Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the ideas of a new society (Kristeller 1961).
The representatives of the Renaissance enriched the program of the classical education by adding a study of the Greek language and reviving the classical Latin. The meaning of such innovations consisted in the extraction of the educational and didactic material out of the ancient literature. For example, the ideas of government were extracted out of the Aristotle’s works, the lessons of the art of war – out of the Caesar’s works, agronomic knowledge – out of the Virgil’s works and so on. If the medieval tradition of primarily school respected the philosophy of Aristotle, then the period of Renaissance gave the central stage to the Plato`s ideas (Brotton 2006).
Girls and boys were taught together. They were taught with reading, writing, mathematics, history, geography and natural sciences, taught of crafts, did gymnastics and were throwing discus. Up to seven years children learned their native language and did physical exercises. Between 7 and 10 years old they also studied the natural sciences. From the 10 years old they started to study mathematics, medicine and other sciences. It was proposed to revive the teaching by using the visual methods: the city walls were painted with different paints, which reflected all sciences.
Renaissance ideas gradually penetrated into all European countries. University of Paris became a hotbed of the ideas of humanism. From there they spread to the central and northern Europe (Brotton 2006).

Schools in the XV - early XVII century

The development of Western European schools in XV - the first third of the XVII century is closely linked to the happening social, economic and political processes in society. Feudal relations were replaced by the newborn industrial society that needed a different pedagogical approach and a different type of education. Schools of this period can be classified into three main types - elementary, high general and higher education (Guisepi 2015).
Elementary schools of primary education became an arena of the rivalry between old and new. Particularly noticeable was the competition between the Catholic and Protestant schools. The largest representatives of the Reformation understood the importance of the establishment of primary schools as a means of influence of Protestantism. Calvin (1533) and Luther (1524) proclaimed the idea of the universal elementary education for children of citizens of Catechism in their native language (Spielvogel 2013).
The Roman-Catholic Church gave way to the Protestant organization in elementary education. To rectify the situation, the Tridentine Ecumenical Council adopted the ‘Catechism of the Council’ (by Cardinal K. Bartholomew). This paper proposed the widespread opening of the Catholic Sunday schools for the lower strata of the population and primary schools - for the nobility (Gutek 1995).
In Catholic parish Sunday schools, it was studied the Bible. This process was also involved by the Catholic congregations. In Catholic and Protestant countries, it was growing the numbers of urban schools of primary education, established by the authorities and communities. These schools include, for example, small schools (France), angular schools (Germany). They were taught to read, sing psalms. Special facilities in these schools were studied extremely rare, and only in the cities. In rural areas, the teacher with the students wandered from house to house. Usually all students studied together. In the first half of the XVII century there were the classrooms, where the students were divided by the level of training (Guisepi 2015).
Throughout the XV - middle of XVII century, a priest-teacher in a primary school is replaced by a professional teacher. His position was changing. He used to live for the ‘school money’ and the nature of the community and the congregation. Since the end of the XVI century, it was extended the principle of payment for the teacher’s work by the community. This meant strengthening of the independence of the school from the church, although the purpose of the teacher was still consistent with the ministers of religion (Kristeller 1961).
Professional level of teachers, especially in schools for the poor people, was very low. Teachers often become losers or random people: former schoolboys, artisans, soldiers and others. Many of them were ignoramuses and could not even read it. A similar situation was widespread.
Education in schools of elementary education took place in the framework of religious dogma (Roman Catholic or Protestant). Clericalism was a significant obstacle to the development of school education. As it was written by, for example, the French historian of pedagogy S. Letourneau, he ‘paralyzed the school.’ The schools had no physical education. Children were constantly rained by blows. All without exception were flogged. There were no teaching materials, developed specifically for children, in fact until the XVI century. Then there appeared the special textbooks for students (for example, ‘small catechisms’). They were more accessible and less in scope than those used by the teachers (Kristeller 2013).
The spread of the elementary education has been slow and difficult. Terrible blows were inflicted by wars, especially by the 30-year War (1618 - 1648), which destroyed a lot of schools and killed a lot of teachers. Educational institutions of the higher general education of XV - the first third of the XVII century genetically were somehow related to the primary city and church schools.
The development of the Renaissance has led to the fact that the town (Latin) schools arose in connection with the development in Europe of trade and industry. In the XV century, urban schools existed in all major cities of Western Europe. Their network continued to grow in XVI - XVII centuries with the development of Renaissance. Urban schools were more secular in nature than the previous institutions. Secularization, which was caused by the renaissance ideas, influenced the educational organizations and programs. Gradually, urban schools separated from the church governance and responsibility of local and state authorities. However, the church has reserved a special influence. It was expressed in the primarily school education, built on a religious basis. Often the schools were led by the clergymen (Kristeller 1961).
In Central Europe, a special role in the establishment and transformation of urban schools was played by the teachers of Renaissance (Brotton 2006). The first large Protestant city school in Eisleben was headed by I. Agricola. The program included a higher branch reading of ‘school catechism’ in German, church singing, Latin grammar and literature, the study of ancient Greek authors, talks on ‘worldly things.’
The program of the highest urban schools gradually became more complicated and enriched. Thus, Melanchthon, developing the ideas of Agricola, supplemented it with Greek and Hebrew languages. At the heart of the educational process it was put the study of Latin language and literature. It was identified three stages of five-sixth anniversary of the study of grammar, reading the works of Terence, Plautus, Aesop and other Greek and Roman classics.
In a typical city school it was dominated the verbal and memorization methods of teaching. Classes for high school students could take place in the form of lectures and debates in Latin, pronouncing monologues and dialogues. Classes were formed on the level of training. So often young schoolboys studied with the young adults.
In urban schools if was practiced the theater (mysteries), which helped to raise the cultural level, aesthetic development of students. As a literary material it was used the classical texts and works of the national writers.
In addition to urban schools in Central and Western Europe it has been created other high schools of general education: gymnasiums, grammar and public schools, colleges, schools of Jerónimos, noble (palace) schools, schools of the Jesuits. In the 20-ies of XVI century, many German city schools have been transformed into the high schools. In high schools the ‘vulgar’ Latin gave way to the classical Latin language, the formal rhetoric - to the study of literature, medieval dialectic – to mathematics. It was resumed the teaching of the Greek language and Hebrew.
In France, in the middle of the XV century it appeared colleges. These institutions have the beginning of inns for the poor scholars and fellows. The first schools of this type occurred at the Sorbonne and the University of Navarra. The Statute of 1452 prescribed the college students to publicly be examined on the faculties of universities. In the XVI century, the colleges were paid and free boarding and externship. Pupils studied partially or completely the course of sciences of the appropriate faculty. The colleges were gradually evolved into the independent schools of general higher education (Guisepi 2015). The college education was focused on the study of the Latin language and literature. Students twice a month wrote Latin works. During the holidays they were required to prepare for the next contest essays on classical literature. Religious education was carried out outside the school. On Wednesdays and Sundays, students were released from classes for worship. In the study of classical languages ​​and literature, the emphasis was not put on grammar, and conversational practice. In contrast to the German high schools, the students learnt their native languages. Quite widely it has been submitted to the math course.
The special role in the Western European schooling of XV-early XVII century was played by traditional educational institutions for the nobility - the palace school. Such institutions have proliferated in small states (Germany and Italy). Palace schools responded to the new trends in educational thought and practice of the school. The hostility to the new education and commitment to the Renaissance were intricately combined in these schools (A Guide to the Study of Literature 2009).
Pedagogical innovation was a joint training and education of boys and girls. A lot of attention was paid to the moral education, which was based on the Christian morality.
In XVI - XVII centuries, the strong positions in the field of high school education were taken by the Jesuits. Jesuits sought to take over the education of the ruling classes and thereby to influence the political and social life of Europe. In XV - XVI centuries, it continued to expand the network of universities. Higher education has become an arena of rivalry between the representatives of the outgoing and new learning. The creation of new and reorganization of the existing universities were carried by the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformers and the Renaissance. Because of the close ties with the feudal aristocracy and the Catholic Church, many universities were out of the side of the Renaissance humanist movement (Guisepi 2015).
In England, the most powerful influence of Reformation was made on the University of Cambridge. Accomplished by Tindel (1484-1536) and Latimer (14857-1555) transformations led to the democratization of students, in the social composition of which the prominent steadily place was occupied by the representatives of the Third Estate (A Guide to the Study of Literature 2009). Some universities have become the centers of education in the spirit of the Renaissance. At first, it was Italian Universities (Pavia, Florence, Padua, Milan, Rome). Under the influence of the founders of the national literature (Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch) the passion of many became the culture and art of the ancient times.
New University of Paris has become a stronghold of the education, where the students studied not only Latin and Roman literature, but also the ancient Greek (from 1458). In the 40-ies of XVII century in the programs of French universities it appeared writings of Descartes. Universities of France in XVI-XVII centuries significantly changed the methods of teaching of history and geography.

The development of science

The development of science in XIV-XVI centuries caused a crushing blow on the scholastic outlook not less than the humanistic thought of the Renaissance. New concepts, advanced by science, strongly influenced the new philosophy, though being often denied and persecuted by the church (Debus 1978).
Along with the discoveries of the theoretical science, it should be noted the increased importance of the practical side of it, which was an attempt to change the world. The practical importance of science was first recognized in connection with the war; Galileo and Leonardo da Vinci have improved in the civil service their projects of artillery and fortification art (Butterfield 2006).


Humanists began to study man as he is - physically and in society. They were originally oriented on the study of language and oratory of art, rather than on mathematics and science. Characteristic works of the time is the lofty speeches about human dignity in the style of Cicero. Humanists have brought to the Christian image of man the new features, dragged the concepts of knowledge and science into it.
Thus, the contribution of scientists and other representatives of the Renaissance in science, education, art and philosophy have, undoubtedly, created the foundation for the great discoveries in the academic life of the early modern Europe and the Europe of modern times, which finally turned the scientific and educational picture of the world. The advances in the development of science and education largely determined the nature of the philosophical reflection. The transition from the closed world of ideas about the concept of an infinite universe meant a radical revision of the entire system of the ontological views (Spielvogel 2013).

Works Cited

A Guide to the Study of Literature: A Companion Text for Core Studies 6, Landmarks of Literature. 2009. 'General Characteristics Of The Renaissance'.
Brotton, Jerry, and Jerry Brotton. 2006. The Renaissance. Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press.
Butterfield, Herbert. 1965. The Origins Of Modern Science: 1300-1800. New York: Free Press.
Debus, Allen G. 1978. Man And Nature In The Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Guisepi, Robert. 2015. 'The History Of Education'. A Project By History World International.
Gutek, Gerald Lee. 1995. A History Of The Western Educational Experience. Prospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press.
Kristeller, Paul Oskar. 1961. Renaissance Thought The Classic Scholastic And Humanistic Strains. Harper & Row Publishers.
Spielvogel, Jackson J. 2013. Western Civilization: A Brief History. 8th ed. Cengage Learning.

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