International Encyclopedia of Civil Society

2010 Edition
| Editors: Helmut K. Anheier, Stefan Toepler

Civil Society History III: Renaissance

  • Curtis Sarles
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-93996-4_535

Main Characteristics of the Period

The Renaissance is a time when the intellectual community of Europe rediscovered the works of classical philosophy and early Christianity, and took their originality and greatness as a source of inspiration. This era saw the founding of the humanities in their contemporary form, and was propelled forward by a creative tension between the glorification of God and the glorification of humankind. The era yielded some of Europe’s greatest artists, political thinkers, and religious dissidents.

Beginning in the late fourteenth century, in Florence, the movement spread throughout Italy and much of Europe, extending to the Nordic countries and as far east as Poland. It arose out of an intellectual climate in which religious scholars engaged in doctrinaire disputes over the interpretation of sacred texts, and seldom bothered to take a fresh look at the texts themselves. To wrest itself from this mire, the city-states of Italy enlisted the help of Byzantine and...

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References/Further Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Curtis Sarles
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyNew York University10003USA