10.2 History of Education: What role did education play in the spreading of Renaissance Ideals?

Chapter  10


10 a ii). Analyze the contribution of education in the spreading of Renaissance Ideals.

Contribution to the Spread of the Renaissance Ideals

Of all countries in Europe, Italy was the most important in the spread of the Renaissance ideals. The Renaissance extended through the second half of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Italy was influenced by the already developed secular spirit, which encouraged a progressive approach to religion, art, literature and philosophy. The exodus of Byzantine scholars, after the fall of Constantinople (1453), and their decision to take refuge in Italian city-states contributed to this. Add to this the originality of Renaissance scholarship, with the recovery and editing of Latin and Greek manuscripts by European Scholars.

By the mid-fifteen century, Italian humanism had reached the north of Europe. In the north the interest was more in social humanism than in the southern state of individualism. Northern humanism was both classically and Biblically oriented. It endeavored to eliminate mass ignorance, and unlike Southern humanism was essentially democratic rather than autocratic.

Prominent among the Northern humanists was Erasmus of Rotterdam (1467 – 1536) who aimed to remove the common ignorance that was basically the root of the gross evils imputed to the Church and the state. He opposed dogmatism and appealed for tolerance, freedom and the ideals and interests of a contemplative life. Education for him was not so much a form of self-culture, but the most important factor in the much- needed moral, religious, educational and social reform of the time. His work was primarily educational, and aimed to eradicate those abuses in society that were the result of ignorance. He used satire as a tool to bring about reform. He also discussed educational subjects, advocating a study  of the child and personal care in directing its studies. He emphasized the importance of the mother, of play and keeping education in touch with the times.


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