Essential Question

How was “humanistic” thinking different from medieval thinking?

How Did the Renaissance Change Man's View of the World?


During the Middle Ages, most people in Europe had devoted themselves to Christianity. In the Renaissance people began to see themselves and what they created as having value. This new emphasis on human value and achievement was called humanism. Renaissance humanists believed that people could do great things. This led to a revived interest in history and the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. This lead to an explosion of developments in art, science, and literature. It also lead to an increase in secularism which is an indifference to, or rejection of religion and religious considerations.

Individual travelers and artists helped spread humanism and the Renaissance from Italy throughout Europe. Scholars of northern Europe applied humanism to religious topics. They believed that human beings were valuable for their own sake and that the church should treat people better. They called for church reform. This combination of humanism with religion is called Christian humanism. A Dutch priest, Desiderius Erasmus, published The Praise of Folly, criticizing corrupt clergy.

Activity 1: Mini Q: How Did the Renaissance Change Man's View of the World?

Mini Q-How Did the Renaissance Change Man’s View of The World_.pdf

Activity 2: How was medieval thinking similar and different from Renaissance/humanist thinking?

Using the information from this lesson, answer the questions in a thinking map. Complete this assignment digitally or on paper. It will be collected in your portfolio.

Discussion Questions

  • What is humanism?

  • How were humanists of the Renaissance different than the people of the Middle Ages?

  • Why do you think Christian humanists called for church reform?

Activity 3: Outline

Use the information from the DBQ to complete an outline that answers: "How Did the Renaissance Change Man's View of the World?"

Essay Outline

Extension Activities