The Age of Luther: The Spirit of Renaissance-Humanism and the Reformation

The Age of Luther: The Spirit of Renaissance-Humanism and the Reformation

The Age of Luther: The Spirit of Renaissance-Humanism and the Reformation

The Age of Luther: The Spirit of Renaissance-Humanism and the Reformation

Excerpt

The sixteenth century is one of the outstanding moments in the history of mankind. In this century, in the age of Luther, man was set free in heart and mind, in conscience, judgment, and intelligence. This spiritual and intellectual emancipation was climaxed in two revolutionary movements, the Renaissance and the Reformation, both so powerful, that with them the modern era was born. The incentive to this book has been the desire to contribute in some measure to a clearer understanding of the releasing energy active in effecting modern man's emergence from bondage to the Middle Ages.

By examination of the intellectual and spiritual forces at work in this century, this book describes the part played by Europe in general, by Germany in particular, in the deliverance of the human spirit. A general survey of the age in Europe provides the background for orienting the momentous agitations and movements astir in it, and for analysis of its great personalities.

In the first part of the volume the essential characteristic of the revival of letters and art known as the Renaissance, and its offspring, Humanism, are reviewed. The study of eminent representatives in art, literature, philosophy, and science considers their individual approach to God and man, and thereby brings into focus the humanistic Weltanschauung of each. Thus the meaning of the intentions and goals proclaimed by Renaissance and Humanism is made clear: the emancipation of man as a human, rational being.

The second and larger part of this book is devoted to the Protestant interpretation of Christian theology, to the principles underlying the religious revolution called the Reformation. This latter movement in its turn proclaims the emancipation of man as a spiritual being. It is the major objective of this research to concerntrate upon the struggle for the freedom of the Christian, to examine the new concept of God and His relation to man as experienced by the founder of Evangelical Christianity-Martin Luther. In order that the humanistic as well as the Evangelical definition of . . .

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