The term ‘renaissance’ means ‘rebirth’. It was used to denote the cultural movement that happened between 14th century and ended in 17th century. Although it may have began in Italy in the late Middle Ages, it spread to other parts of Europe and the world. The period was characterized by application of new ideas in art, education and diplomacy among other fields. It has been said that renaissance bridged the gap between modernity and the Middle Ages. This essay seeks to explain how renaissance was a springboard of modernity.
To begin with, in terms of chronology, there is no doubt that renaissance preceded modernity. This is because after the Middle Ages there came the renaissance and then modernity. Moreover, there are other more compelling explanations as to why renaissance is viewed as a springboard to modernity. It should be noted that the modern concepts in art, religion, science, self-awareness, humanism and thought began in renaissance times. According to this author, renaissance brought about a transformation in the way European aristocracy was viewed. Specifically, the invention of the gunpowder was a huge step because the oppressed could shoot the knights. Further, Francis Bacon is considered a ‘progenitor of modernity’. He brought about ideological changes in religious studies of the renaissance age. Specifically, he wrote that God’s law was revealed but not discovered, something that the preceding Middle Ages had a contrary opinion about.
Renaissance was a springboard of modernity because according to Natoli and Hutcheon (4), it was concerned with circumstantial cases in law, medicine and morals. In other words, there was no longer need to generalize things but to treat each case as distinct from the other. The period was also characterized by analysis of the audience and their inner logic. There were also important advancements in the media and printing press. Following the new ideas on information dissemination, there was intensified printing of books meant to spread the scientific knowledge thereof. Moreover, more printing and media revolution was evident during modernity times, which is another reason to believe that renaissance preceded modernity.
In a further effort to trace the genesis of modernity from renaissance, it is also important to mention that secularism, as is practiced in modern times, emanated from renaissance. In addition, renaissance age was a time in which humanism took its roots. In other words, the modern views on how human beings are viewed are traced from renaissance. As it has already been seen, it was a ‘re-birth’ of ideas, especially in health. Renaissance was a beginning of the deadly diseases elimination, such as Ebola and Plague which led to the Black Death that wiped half of Italy’s population.
In conclusion, renaissance period was seen as a renewed way of looking at things. It was mainly against some of the Middle Ages ideas regarding religion, science and self-awareness. It was also driven by a strong sense of invention, analysis and information dissemination. Having been an awakening time courtesy of killer diseases, renaissance was a beginning of closer investigation into health sciences, a concept that has been adopted and investigated further to-date. Therefore, renaissance preceded modernity in various ways. The first one was in a chronological manner; from Middle Ages to renaissance then modernity. The second one was in terms of ideas as seen in art, science, technology, printing press, humanism, self-awareness among others. In the final analysis, modernity is completely traced from renaissance.