After reading this article you will learn about the relation between renaissance and reformation.
The scholars of western political thought have confidently asserted that both Renaissance and Reformation are inextricably connected. If there were no Renaissance, Reformation could not get the opportunity to find its proper progress.
Renaissance considerably broadened the mind and outlook of man. Being enlightened by reason and rationality, man came out of the darkness of the Middle Ages. The development of reason and rationality put man on a different stage.
He came to believe that the practices and behaviour of the church and the Pope were absolutely responsible for the decaying condition of the religious world.
As a result of Renaissance people came to believe that religion was a personal affair and they have the right to lead their religious life in accordance with their own reason and belief and the church or the Pope have no power to dictate them. By asserting this, people started to go according to their own reason.
This condition helped the leaders of Reformation to rise against the enormous power and influence of the church. Martin Luther and Calvin properly utilised the situation to challenge the authority of the church.
It is true that Renaissance prepared the field, and the leaders of the Reformation, especially Martin Luther and Calvin sowed the seeds of reforming the church. Under such situation we have actually very little scope to separate Renaissance from Reformation. Again we hold the view that Reformation would never be possible without Renaissance.
The whole issue is a continuous process. The issue is to enlighten the mind of the people, to free their mind from all sorts of superstition and unreasonable ideas and concepts.
A relevant comment of Ebenstein is:
In the field of religious thought and experience, the Renaissance opened the gates to a new religious world through the Protestant Reformation.
Renaissance helped Reformation in other ways also. The international relations and trade increased as a result of Renaissance. People of different-parts of the globe came in close contact which broadened their mind and outlook. Renaissance prepared the field for the rise and development of nationality and reasonability in their mind. They refused to be guided by orthodox religion and dictates of church.
Simultaneously, the Reformation Movement removed the unreligious stigma (at least partially) from the body of Christianity. The liberal aspects of Christianity received wide support from the people of other countries.
Renaissance encouraged people to sail to other countries for trading purposes and these people carried with them the reformed Christianity. The world civilisation, liberation, economic progress and development in trade all advanced forward simultaneously. Man was released from darkness un-reasonability by the Renaissance. He was again freed from religious orthodoxy Reformation. The two—pronged attack launched by Renaissance and Reformation created a new world—a world of liberalism, a world of free thought and free trade.
In his Rise of European Liberalism Harold Laski says:
“The contrast between the eager merchant and the avaricious landlord of the Tudor Age, on the one hand, and the priest and the monk on the other, left no doubt of the result of the struggle for the wealth of the church. When, at the Council of Trent, the papacy awakened to the need for reform, it was already too late. For by that time, it had lost the half of its empire. The new men were in the saddle. The new terms of exploitation had been laid down. It was no longer for the new spirit to make its term with the church. It was now the business of the church to make its terms with the new spirit.”
Both Renaissance and Reformation radically changed the economic and religious scene of the world.