What was the relationship between the Renaissance and the Reformation? To what extent did the ideas of the Renaissance shape the Reformation? How did Renaissance learning influence different reformers?

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The Renaissance and the Reformation are completely interconnected—so much so that many scholars contend that the Reformation would not have been possible without the Renaissance movement.

The Renaissance was a European movement which propelled Europeans out of the Middle Ages. At the core of the Renaissance movement was the idea that man is an enlightened being, capable of using reason to discover universal truths. In this way, the inherent value of humans grew in importance significantly. No longer were humans viewed as pawns placed on Earth by God, but rather beings who could formulate their own spirituality.

In this way, it laid the groundwork for the Reformation. Martin Luther, in his Ninety-Five Theses, aired his grievances with the Church. The traditional view of the Church and papal authority was that the Pope was infallible and, by extension, that the Church was infallible. Humans were expected to fall in line and not question the actions of the Church and the Pope. However, the...

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