PinkMonkey Online Study Guide-World History
2.1 Meaning of Renaissance
The Renaissance in Europe, the great movement which brought about the awakening of new interest in the old classics. It originated in the 15th century and brought about a transition from faith to reason, from dogma to science. Literally the term ’Renaissance’ means "rebirth" and signified the revival of the study of old classics. It was basically an enthusiastic study of the masterpieces of ancient Latin and Greek literature, with a new interest. Thus a new outlook was developed in the realm of thought and action.
In the broad sense, the Renaissance stood for an all-round development as well as a widening of horizons. There was a fresh realization that the world is full of interest and beauty, and many good things which could be experienced and enjoyed without reference to any larger purpose or destiny.
The Renaissance also gave rise to curiosity
and the growth of the spirit of inquiry, which resulted in
great discontent with the medieval spirit. As Hayes, Moon
and Wayland declare the movement "represented in literature,
architecture, sculpture and painting, a reaction against medieval
culture." Through its bold approach, the Renaissance encouraged
an intellectual revolt against the rigid rules and traditions of
the medieval period.
The greatest service rendered by the Renaissance, was the release of the human mind and the birth of original thinking. This led to rapid progress in all spheres of activity. It also led to several movements, which took place simultaneously, such as the rise of a new political order, geographical discoveries and the reformation movement which ushered in the modern times.
The Renaissance spirit manifested itself during the medieval times. At this time, Europe was experiencing the intellectual tyranny of the church. Owing to the dogmatic attitude of the church, there was mental unrest, as well as the silent and patient development of original thinking. The seeds of independent thinking, that were sown in the Middle Ages, grew into trees in the modern times.