During the Renaissance, scholars became more interested in the humanistic features of society, and humanistic educators based their teaching models on Greek and Latin classics. Renaissance education was One apparent purpose of a Renaissance education was to praise the value of useful education, through the teaching of the classics, mainly Greek literature that was written by Greek philosophers, mathematicians and other important figures. Some criticised the Renaissance education, however, because they felt as if it was absurd, as it didn’t teach true values of learning, and didn’t teach one how to behave, but rather how to dictate Latin.
Despite these criticisms, other humanists believed Renaissance learning brought great profits, higher positions, and more honors later in life, and was successful in the task of teaching young people to fear god, have good virtue, and to be disciplined. One apparent purpose of a Renaissance education was to praise the value of useful education, through the teaching of the classics, mainly Greek literature that was written by Greek philosophers, mathematicians and other important figures.
Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, stated on his book, On the Education of Free Men, 1450, that the study of the Philosophy and of Letters was the guide to the meaning of the past, present, and even future. There may be some bias to this statement, for Piccolomini was an Italian humanist who later became pope, and may have been using his knowledge of the classics, being a humanist, to justify his religious and political power. Battista Guarino, an Italian humanist educator, also supports the classics, by simply explaining that mankind must learn and train in Virtue, or as the ancients called the “Humanities.
” There is also a bit of point of view, however, because being an Italian humanist educator, Guarino would value the teaching of the classics to his students and would want to influence his opinion on others. Baldassare Castiglione, Italian diplomat and author, said that a courtier, or a king’s assistant or servant, should be educated in the humanities, and the Latin poets, orators, and historians, because women value that knowledge in a man, and he will be able to judge the writing of others. Erasmus also stated that the student must delve into the literatures of ancient Greece and Rome, to gain the knowledge in the classics.
Erasmus has a particular point of view, because he practiced a humble religion, and tried to live the way Jesus lived, which would make him value things the ancients valued. Some criticised the Renaissance education, however, because they felt as if it was absurd, as it didn’t teach true values of learning, and didn’t teach one how to behave, but rather how to dictate Latin. Juan Luis Vives, a Spanish humanist, supported the idea that women should not learn much, but rather just enough to teach her good manners and literature from biblical scholars.
There is a great deal of bias in this idea, because being Spanish, Christian, and male, Vives would not agree with women being educated, due to the fact that Spain was very conservative, especially after the Reconquista. Michel de Montaigne argued that the “absurd” educational system taught students the wrong values, by teaching them that writing the best Greek and Latin was more important the which books contain the best opinions. Montaigne’s point of view comes from the fact that he is a skeptic and criticizes numerous things, so it is likely that he would criticize the educational system.
John Brinsley, an English schoolmaster objected that scholars at fifteen or sixteen years of age due not understand true knowledge, but instead the can only wrote Latin that means little. Brinsley had an interesting perspective, because he was a schoolmaster himself and saw these actions firsthand, from his young scholars. Another criticism of the school system was that such study weakens the body, and prevents people from obtaining jobs necessary to society, such as farming jobs, soldiers, and merchants.
John Amos Comenius, and educational reformer, also said supported the idea that learning did not assist people enough in life, because students learned much grammar, rhetoric, and logic, instead of things that would prepare them for action later in life. Despite these criticisms, other humanists believed Renaissance learning brought great profits, higher positions, and more honors later in life, and was successful in the task of teaching young people to fear god, have good virtue, and to be disciplined.
Francesco Guicciardini stated that things that seem more decorative than substantial to man, such as skills like the arts, led to a good reputation of men and open the way to favor a princess. These skills also led to great profits and honors. The perspective in this statement comes from the fact that he was a politician, and witnessed how his education in these arts helped him to improve his rank in society, gain a larger profit, and other benefits.
Some also supported the Renaissance education from a religious side by explaining that children who go to school learned virtue, discipline, and to fear God, which were important Christian values. In an analysis of the percentage of justices of the Peace who attended university, around 1562, in Kent, only two percent of justices had attended university. This number increased dramatically in 1636, when an astonishing sixty eight percent of justices had attended university. This clearly demonstrated the value of a Renaissance education, and how it led to higher ranks, for instance, justices.
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