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Dolet, Marlowe, Montaigne and Bodin

  • H. A. Enno van Gelder

Abstract

In the major Reformation of the 16th century — “major” because of its wide extent and its broad and intense influence on Western European civilization — I indicated certain elements that can be called modern, because they determine, to an ever greater extent, the religious mentality which is typical of the culture of the 20th century: religion is seen predominantly as an ethical value and determined philosophically, in which the miraculous in general and the mystery of salvation in particular recede in importance ; the value of life on the earth is placed in the centre of thought; the divine element is reduced to a philosophical concept; spiritual and biological man is seen as a whole, imperfect, it is true, in origin, but not guilty unless by his own evil inclination; lastly, what is reasonable is accepted as true, in preference to what is traditional, with the realization that truth can have its own verity for each individual, while the experience and thoughts of all preceding generations can be honoured as a basis. Since the 15th century the cultural evolution in Western Europe had been accelerated to a spiritual crisis by the idea that the divine element was revealed in the Greek and Roman past just as much as it was in the Jewish and Christian past. Very many people had found a new security, though they often interpreted the words and ideas of tradition differently. Certain of them considered that they had still to advance a step further: they broke down the framework and dared to interfere publically with the existing formulations. These people then strike us as thinking in a particularly modern way.

Keywords

Modern View Good Deed Religious Idea Christian Doctrine Natural Religion 
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References

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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1961

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  • H. A. Enno van Gelder

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