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Early renaissance thinkers completely transformed ideas of the nature of humanity and authority. Previous thinkers had emphasized the corruption of human nature; that human beings were basically imperfect creatures in need of divine guidance until such time as their brief existence on earth ended. Authority rather than experimentation was prevalent, the extant authorities being the Bible and Aristotle. Experimentation was prone to lead one into error, error into sin, and sin to eternal damnation.
Early Renaissance thinkers stressed the unique nature of individual human beings and their personal talents as human beings. They believed that one should express himself in art, literature, scholastic achievements, even in athletics. This gave rise to the belief that individual personal accomplishment should be celebrated. Previous thinkers had emphasized that one's accomplishments could only find worth as part of a greater whole.
This idea of personal accomplishment lent itself to renewed interest in classical learning. The end result was the doctrine of humanism, from the Latin humitatus, the result of the combined application of wisdom and virtue. Although early Renaissance thinkers did not disclaim religion, they rather saw humans as God's greatest creation; not an imperfect object to be tolerated.
Early Renaissance thinkers, then, transformed relevant thinking on the nature of human beings and humanity.
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