Cover image for Renaissance and reformation : the intellectual genesis
Renaissance and reformation : the intellectual genesis
Levi, Anthony.
Personal Author:
First paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xi, 483 pages ; 24 cm
The intellectual parameters of Western Christendom -- The crisis of scholasticism -- Empire, papacy, Petrarch, and the Italian peninsula to 1400 -- The quattrocento to the death of Valla (1457) -- The Florentine Academy -- The imitation of Christ -- Fifteenth-century France -- Paris, England, and Italy : Erasmus to 1511 -- Lefèvre, Reuchlin, and Alcal -- The new century to 1516 : utopia and the Novum Instrumentum -- Germany and Luther -- Protestantism : the defeat of Erasmus -- France, 1520-1535 -- Secular supremacy, England, and the Swiss Confederation, 1520-1535.
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CB359 .L48 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This book presents a revisionist examination of the development of European intellectual culture between the high middle ages and 1550. It draws particular attention to the roles of Marsilio Ficino and Erasmus and analyzes major aspects of the work of Aquinas, Soctus, and Ockham, before moving on to Petrarch, Valla, Pico della Mirandola, the devotio moderna, More, Luther, Calvin, and their contemporaries. It establishes radically new perspectives on the Renaissance and the Reformation and on the continuity between them.
"It is an important work and sets forth new constructs about Renaissance and Reformation that must be considered."--Marion Leathers Kuntz, American Historical Review
"[Levi's] skillfully navigated intellectual journey is a tour de force."-- Choice
"A refreshingly broad vision of the period."-- Times Literary Supplement
"A massive and learned work. . . . [A] great wealth of learning."-- History: Reviews of New Books

Author Notes

Anthony Levi is an emeritus professor of the University of Saint Andrews, Scotland

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This volume on the foundations of Western thought argues an original thesis that sees the Renaissance and Reformation as both flowing out of late medieval intellectual stalemates. Levi's main point is that scholastic Christian theology had reached a point at which the goal of personal perfection became impossible, especially after William of Ockham posited a possibly arbitrary divine will. Attempts in the late Middle Ages to find alternative routes ranged from Rhenish mysticism and the devotio moderna's "imitation of Christ" to Italian humanists who revived mostly stoic values, which filtered through Neoplatonism by the 15th century, enabling Christians to aspire to a moral good that transcended purely rational knowledge. The Reformation extended this vision in its return to a "purer" Christianity. Levi's argument runs deeper, and his skillfully navigated intellectual journey is a tour de force (even if not quite as accessible as Steven Ozment's Age of Reform, CH, Oct'80). While the main thesis holds and he provides a rich historical context, Levi (Univ. of St. Andrew's) remains in a pre-Skinnerian world where universal ideas engaged in timeless debates and thinkers were self-consciously aware of intellectual deficiencies. In the end, however, this does not detract from the prodigious and scholarly originality of this book. Graduate students and faculty. B. Lowe Florida Atlantic University

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefatory Notep. xi
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 The Intellectual Problem of the Middle Ages
1 The Intellectual Parameters of Western Christendomp. 21
2 The Crisis of Scholasticismp. 40
Part 2 Towards a Resolution
3 Empire, Papacy, Petrarch, and the Italian Peninsula to 1400p. 71
4 The Quattrocento to the Death of Valla (1457)p. 95
5 The Florentine Academyp. 113
6 The Imitation of Christp. 133
7 Fifteenth-century Francep. 154
8 Paris, England, and Italy: Erasmus to 1511p. 175
9 Lefevre, Reuchlin, and Alcalap. 205
10 The New Century to 1516: Utopia and the Novum Instrumentump. 230
Part 3 Schismatic Solutions
11 Germany and Lutherp. 259
12 Protestantism: The Defeat of Erasmusp. 285
13 France 1520-1535p. 306
14 Secular Supremacy, England, and the Swiss Confederation, 1520-1535p. 334
Conclusionp. 359
Notesp. 370
Thematic Indexp. 440