An Analysis of the Developments of the Humanist Movement, Gutenberg’s Printing Press, and the Use of the Scientific Method

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Throughout history there have been developments that have had a dramatic affect on a period of time. Many happenings during the reformation and scientific revolution have made long lasting impacts for further inventions and ideas. A few things in which inspired new developments are the humanist movement, Gutenberg’s printing press, and the use of the scientific method.

The humanist movement was part of the Renaissance, which caused people to believe that knowledge should encourage a single person’s creativity. Humanism according to the “Prentice Hall World History Connections To Today” textbook is defined as an intellectual movement at the heart of the Italian Renaissance that focused on worldly subjects rather than on religious issues. Humanist scholars hoped that the wisdom they had of ancient Greeks and Romans would help them to understand their time. A few subjects that were studied by the Italian humanists were grammar, rhetoric poetry.

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These subjects were known as “Studia Humanitas.” Interpreters of the ancient data did not believe anything they learned without thoroughly questioning every small and large detail that could be found. One of the most famous Italian humanists is Francesco Petrarch. During his life from 1304 to 1374, the early renaissance humanist searched for every piece of Greek and Roman manuscripts he could get his hands on. After finding all that he could, he began writing his own literature. He wrote “Sonnets to Laura,” which was a book that consisted of love poems that were inspired by a woman he knew only by his eyes. These poems later motivated other writers.

The Northern European humanist scholars were very much like the humanists of the Italian Renaissance. Both the Europeans and Italians stressed the learning and renewal of the classical learning. This “classic learning” was a way to teach young children about religious and moral reform. A well-known northern European humanist is Desiderius Erasmus, who had plenty of knowledge about the original languages of the Bible, that he was able to create a new edition of the New Testament. He translated the classical Greek edition of the Bible, so it would now be possible for the entire world to read. Now that everyone could read the Bible instead of just preachers, churchgoers would challenge the practices of the priests.

This Dutch humanist wrote a humorous piece of work to expose the poorly informed and dishonest actions, titled “The Praise of Folly.” As a Christian thinker, he taught other people that their personal lives are to be free and kind towards other people. Another famous Northern humanist is Thomas More, a friend of Desiderius Erasmus. This English humanist wrote “Utopia,” which describes a perfect society. In this faultless life style all men and women live in peace and harmony, and not just men, but women too, are educated. No family or man owns their own property, it is shared within the community. If a crime needed to be ended, it wouldn’t be settled by execution, in Utopia, justice would resolve the problem. By way of new movements, it was possible for Gutenberg to create his printing press to contribute to society.

In 1456, Johann Gutenberg was born in Mainz, Germany. About fifty years later, he had invented a printing press. The first book that he re-printed using movable type was the Bible. The Gutenberg Bible was the very beginning of the printing period in Europe. The invention was spread all over Italy, Germany, England, and the Netherlands. Along with the printing press came many immense changes. These new printed books on rag paper were now cheaper and much easier to make, unlike ones where you had to handwrite them. Because books were cheaper, many more people began learning how to read and write.

The printing press brought knowledge to many different levels. These machines started to produce books on medicine for doctors, law for politicians, astrology for astronomers, mining for miners and geography for geographers. The influence that the invention had was that now, since books were being produced faster, more people could read them, and since when sermons were preached, only few people got the message, now the whole world could know. Christians could now read the Bible on their own, and the ideas were spread faster and reached a larger audience. Now that technology was improving, the doors were open for many more enhancements.

Two philosophers, Sir Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes, used the Scientific Method. Francis Bacon was an Englishman, who like Descartes rejected Aristotle’s scientific assumptions, and was devoted to the “problem of knowledge.” Also, both of these men defied the intellectual traditions of the medieval universities that wanted to make the world fit in with the church teachings. Bacon stressed over experimenting and observing, while Descartes focused mainly on emphasizing human reasoning, which he thought was the best way to understand anything.

Francis Bacon said that science was a way to make life better for people by leading inventors to practical technologies. Both of these men helped to bring the scientific method to find out about other possible knowledge. They opened a way to the “enlightenment of the 1700’s” and spread the idea of possible human progress.

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An Analysis of the Developments of the Humanist Movement, Gutenberg’s Printing Press, and the Use of the Scientific Method. (2022, Dec 23). Retrieved from

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