It was the “Renaissance” philosophers who destroyed the concept of ‘enduring hell for perpetuity for our sins here on earth and rejected the conformity of thinking emphasised by the church.’ Exactly the obsession every faithful has today - the fearful account and urge for redemption from sins in the next world. These were the fears of the pre-renaissance Europeans too. Philosophy in Europe was subjugated by primitive Christian theologians, like we have in the world of Islam today.
The two I will highlight are Pico della Mirandola and Martin Luther who helped change the course. I don't see any notable figures like them who will challenge orthodoxy and dogma resident in the practices of Islamic clergy; the Renaissance of the faithful today is happening live under the glaring eye of social media. The theocracies will have to drastically change the narrative of hate or disappear. The spiral of death- based obsessional returns in the afterlife and lack of enquiry are exactly the issues the west faced under closed medieval Christians theologians.
‘An earthly sin of the limited period is not worthy of everlasting but only of temporary punishment.’ Pico della Mirandola
‘The narrow-minded and authoritarian position of the Catholic Church, which forced conformity in thinking needs to be erased from the entire university curriculum.’ Martin Luther
Commencing from 1400 in Italy, Europe experienced a histrionic rational movement called the Renaissance, which stressed the resurrection of science and culture. Primitive Philosophy led by Christian theologians was the main goal of change in this period of regeneration. James Fieser ‘The History of Philosophy: A Short Survey’ is a must read for a complete assessment.
“Renaissance” precisely means “rebirth” and the word was only first used in the 19th century to discuss this astonishing epoch. Renaissance set a new direction for art, architecture, music, literature, scientific discovery, and world survey.
One of the most distinguishing academic rational movements inside the Renaissance was humanism - humanities - the study of humanity. The chief emphasis of humanism was secular education using Greek and Latin masterpieces; there were five subjects in humanities - grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, and moral philosophy. The most noteworthy influence humanism had on philosophy was the reinvigorated learning of Greek philosophical schools, Platonism, Aristotelianism, Epicureanism, Stoicism, or Scepticism.
The impact of classical philosophy blew out like wildfire because of the discovery of the printing press during this time which made books much more accessible.
1. One of the most representative humanistic philosophers of the Renaissance was Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494), a Platonist who stressed the distinctiveness of human nature. He was the author of the idea that rejected permanent damnation ‘an earthly sin of the limited period is not worthy of everlasting but only of temporary punishment.’ He was imprisoned by the Pope and only released through the help of his influential patron, Lorenzo.
He travelled extensively learning a miscellaneous variety of thinkers of ancient Greece, Judaism, Islam, and Zoroastrianism. Plato, though, was his focus. With the help of Lorenzo de' Medici, he published translations of Plato’s writings. One of Pico’s enduring wishes was to set up an opportunity to openly deliberate 900 Theses (1486), in which he suggests 900 basic principles for determining knowledge in religion, philosophy and science. The Pope put a stop to his strategy by announcing thirteen of the principles to be blasphemous “No science gives more belief of the holiness of Christ than magic and Kabala,” and “A mortal sin of finite duration is not deserving of eternal but only of temporal punishment.”
2. Martin Luther (1483-1546) was born in Eisleben, Germany. Martin Luther received his Master’s degree and entered law school. During a thunderstorm, however, a lightning bolt terrified him into shouting out to the patron saint of miners, “Help, St. Anne! I’ll become a monk!”
He dropped out of law school and entered the monastery, to his parents’ displeasure. He spent long hours in prayer, fasting, and even whipping himself seeking to affirm his salvation, but all this did was reinforce his sense of sinfulness. Nevertheless, he was soon ordained a priest and began teaching biblical theology at the newly founded University of Wittenberg.
The more Luther studied, however, the more he interrogated the Church’s official view of redemption and use of indulgences, and he eventually concluded that salvation is a gift of God’s grace through faith, not through the Church. After disseminating his 95 Theses throughout Europe, the Church ordered him to recant his position, but he refused and was excommunicated from the Church.
Protected by a sympathetic German Prince, he went into hiding, during which time he translated the Greek New Testament into German. As the Reformation gained momentum in Germany and beyond, he returned to Wittenberg where he continued lecturing. In his efforts to break Christianity free from the rule of the Catholic Church, he concluded that the entire university curriculum required serious overhauling. It was Luther and many other Renaissance thinkers who considered Aristotle books to represent the narrow-minded and authoritarian position of the Catholic Church, which forced conformity in thinking.