Religion in Renaissance and Elizabethan Age
“The Renaissance also known as the age of “Rebirth” began in the 14th century. As the Renaissance occurred so did the Elizabethan era, also known as the Golden Age in English history, which began in the 16th century. The highly advanced drama during the time lead to dramas inspiring other and proposing several different readings such as the Holy Scriptures, pamphlets, and literary criticism to some of the first English novels. The sudden darkening change of literature connected to the death of Queen Elizabeth. As a Roman Catholic, Queen Mary ruled during the late Renaissance and to the end of the Elizabethan era, both eras being built upon religion.
The Renaissance occurred during the 14th century to the 17th century in Florence Italy, also known as the age of “rebirth” following the Middle ages promoting European culture, art, literature, and classical philosophy. Many authors, amazing thinkers, scientist, artist, and statesmen in history thrived during the eras. Influential figures such as Michelangelo, William Shakespeare, Titan, Galileo, John Milton, and Leonardo Da Vinci shaped the Renaissance and the Elizabethan era. Although European countries experienced the Renaissance later than Italy, the impacts were still revolutionary (History.com Editors).
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Humanism allowed the idea that one was the center of their own Universe and other should embrace achievements in education, arts, culture, literature, and science. The advancement of Humanism encouraged Europeans to question the role of the Roman Catholic church during the Renaissance (History.com Editors). Individuals learned how to read, write and examine the religion of what they knew of. Texts such as the Bible was widely reproduced and read by people for the first time. The Bible, separated into two different books, is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures. Being a massive influence on literature and history, attitudes towards the Bible differed among Christian groups. The book which makes up the Christian Old Testament differ between the Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches, with the Protestant movement accepting only those books contained in the Hebrew Bible, while Catholic and Orthodox traditions have wider canons. The term “”New Testament”” came into use in the second century during a controversy among Christians over whether the Hebrew Bible should be included with the Christian writings as sacred scripture. The New Testament presupposes the inspiration of the Old Testament. Some other works which were widely read by early churches were excluded from the New Testament and relegated to the collections known as the Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament Apocrypha (Wikipedia contributors).
In the beginning of the 16th century a German Monk, Martin Luther, led the Protestant Reformation. The Protestant Reformation attempted to reform the Catholic church. The Reformation spread throughout Europe for more than a century, shaping the New World. Protestants are any groups of several churches or people who protest against or for the church. It originated in the 16th century Reformation of the movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of Papal supremacy and sacraments but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, Justification of faith rather than the good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone.
Calvinism created by John Calvin became the dominant theology of New England Puritans and other American settlers. Pilgrims were separatist and the Puritans were non-separating congregationalist because they believed the Church of England was one true church and loyal to England and worshipped. Puritans believed only “visible saints” could only be admitted to a church membership. The Pilgrims broke away from the Church of England because the so called “saints” would have to sit with the “damned”. The Protestant Reformation Produced puritanism; Total Depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of grace. This revolutionary movement caused a split to occur in the Catholic church leading to a new form of Christianity known as Protestantism. The view of the Catholic Church of a Protestants denominations can’t be considered as churches but rather that they are ecclesial communities or specific faith-believing communities because their ordinances and doctrines are not historically the same as the Catholic sacraments and dogmas, and the Protestant communities have no sacramental ministerial priesthood and therefore lack true succession.
During the mid-16th century, the Italian War of 1551-1559, also known as the Habsburg-Valois War and the Last Italian War began when King Henry II succeeded throne and declared war against the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1552 King Henry attacked King Charles V and the Ottomans sent approximately 100 galleys in the raid of the city of Reggio. Historians emphasized the importance of gunpowder, technology, cannon fire, and increased professionalization of soldiers.
The Elizabethan Age, also called the Golden Age in English history, occurred during the 16th century through the 18th century. Queen Mary was brought up as a Catholic and enacted the pro-Catholic Legislation. Several Protestants were executed as heretics, and others fled the area for their own safety. The Religious Settlement of 1559 made Queen Elizabeth head of the church of England, however people referred to the “old religion” and the bishops faced difficulties for Catholic practices. The Bishop overseas the Diocese and often assist in the administration of the Diocese by other bishops. Within these churches, bishops are those who possess the full priesthood and can ordain clergy including another bishop. However, the Bishops had no other choice than to remove all forms of Catholic practices in the services. After Christianity was legalized and the Church continued to fight heresies in various councils, the Pope and his emissaries weighed in on very important doctrinal issues. The Church at Rome kept meticulous records, and it was often further removed from the theological innovations and conflicts that erupted in the East in important cities such as Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople. The Pope opposed Elizabeth due to her legitimacy, therefore she practiced a policy which would strengthen England’s Protestants and divide between allies.
Queen Elizabeth ruled over the ascendant empire in England. Power arouse by the British and created religious struggles between the Catholics and Protestants. In Protestant England unlike the English, the Spanish, French and Dutch attempted to exploit new world resources and formed more complex relationships with the indigenous people. After Elizabeth’s death in 1603, England became a major world power and Elizabeth became one of England’s greatest monarchs in history.
In the Presence of Chester many teachers, lawyers, officials, and other stimulated in literary interest. During the 1540’s Chester became one of the first places to ever regulate in response of national legislation between the deserving and undeserving poor. In 1552 the parliament passed the Poor Act, focusing on using parishes as a source of funds to overcome the increasing poverty epidemic. Overseers from Parishes were asked for donations for poor relief, the Refusal to give any donation resulted in a meeting with the Bishop. The deserving poor were relieved under the Act of 1563, passed by the parliament, however the act continued to suffer from shortcomings.
Harsh conditions and limited rights caused much distress in the society from the 16th through 17th century. The Tudor Society led onto the Elizabethan era. King Henry VII, was known as an important figure in the social welfare, giving alms and looking after the destitute. Across England bad harvest caused distress throughout the town, especially to the poor families and businesses. Families considered as poor usually ate small loafs of bread and what they could harvest, other than those families who ranked as a higher social level usually ate meets such as beef, mutton, lamb, and pork. During this time women’s rights were limited. Unless women were born into a wealthy family, they could not engage in further education and would have to become a housewife. If women were not married, they were forced to become a nun. Even though women wrote works of literature, they could not write for the public stage only works that were suitable for a woman to write, such as translations or religious works.
Artist known for their work during this movement were Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, etc. Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the greatest painters of all time and an Italian Polymath in the Renaissance, created numerous of famous works such as the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and the Virgin of the Rocks. Michelangelo Di Lodovico, an Italian sculpture, painter, poet and architect, excelled on the development of western art. Some of Lodovico famous works were The Last Judgement and Sistine Chapel Ceiling. The ideals of Leonardo da Vinci’s artwork, The Last Supper, focused on an important religious movement. The dramatic scene describes the moments in the gospel in which Jesus declares the Apostles would betray him and later institute the Eucharist. The technique use by Da Vinci was in a linear perspective which was discovered during the Renaissance. The result of the completion varied human emotion and rendered in a simple composition, connecting to the Renaissance and the Elizabethan era. Some authors known for their work during the 16th century was William Shakespeare a English poet, William Baldwin a English author, Jane Anger an English author, Michaela Drayton a poet, Ben Jonson a English playwright, and more. All these authors focused on different ideas that pertain to their work.
Although there is no record of Birth date, Death date and the personal life of William Baldwin there was enough information to tell some parts of his life. William Baldwin was born into the Renaissance and the Elizabethan era. From West Country, England, Baldwin studied logic and philosophy at Oxford soon to become a corrector of the press. During the Elizabethan era it appeared Baldwin was employed for preparing theatrical exhibitions for the court. He later passed away during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Baldwin wrote an impressive number of books and poems during the time period of 1547 through 1569.
Some of the books and poems published were The Story of Richard, Earl of Cambridge, being put to death at Southampton, The Story of Jack Cade naming himself Mortimer, and his Rebelling against the King, The Story of Jack Cade naming himself Mortimer, and his Rebelling against the King, The Funerals of King Edward the Sixth, and Beware the Cat.
During the reign of King Edward VI William Baldwin produced the first English novel ever written, Beware the Cat. The publication of the book was delayed for seventeen years due to the result of Queen Mary’s reign. Baldwin’s book contained information that was subtle but persuasive of the anti-Catholic satire. Religion being the overall theme of the book as Baldwin included a popish plot, which included ideas against Catholicism. The popish plot is understood as the background of the English Reformation and the strong development of anti-Catholic among the Protestant population. Many Catholic Englishmen were devious conspirators who would have everything their way, therefore making allegations about Catholic plots more believable. The Scottish Reformation in 1560 abolished Catholic ecclesiastical structures and rendered Catholic practice illegal in Scotland. Roman Catholic protestants rejected the doctrine of Papal supremacy and sacraments. The view of the church is the Protestant denominations can not be considered as churches but they are communities of specific faith believing because their ordinances and doctrines are not historically the same as the Catholic sacraments. Protestant communities have no sacramental ministerial priesthood and therefore lack true succession.
The cats shown in the book Beware the Cat are used as malicious characters in the story by the author. Cats is a metaphor for the undying power of the Catholic church which cannot be destroyed. The birds and beasts do, in fact, have reason. It shows that Master Streamer can hear and understand the language of cats. Somewhat the unreliable narration encompasses the telling of several tales, including that of the cat Grimalkin. Baldwin’s use of the name Grimalkin is one of the first known uses in print. The Grimalkin in his story is a giant cat of monstrous appetite “much esteemed” by all her kind and takes the shape of a human by day and a panther by night. Baldwin wastes no time in comparing the Grimalkin to the Pope of Rome. In the early 13th century low class women were referred to as a malkin. As the word malkin evolved it became a common word for cat, specifically a grey cat. Throughout the book Alders gate is commonly being showed. Alders gate can be partaken as both a celebration day and a gate in England. As said in the book Alders gate was shown as a wall built which was famous and said was built by the Bishops and how the Bishops built the Bishops gate.
The tone being showed throughout the story can be Condescending, Insolent, malevolent and indignant. Anger, hatred and disagreement influenced one another throughout the towns in the area. The Cats were malicious to those who disliked them, and the women were afraid of their own shadows. This creates the thought of negativity to a towns person about to what they believe in. In the story the author uses literary devices such as questioning and listing. In the story many noises are being heard and are put into a form of listing. The author uses this technique to show how much noise is being made which makes one deaf. “Barking of dogges, grunting of hoggs, wauling of cats, rumbling of rats, gagling of geese… watching and shrugging with such a sorte of commixed noyses as would deaf any body have heard.” The author also uses questioning as another technique in his story. All creatures in the story are being shown as good even though most are not, “Are not, Apes, Owles, Cuckowes, Beares and Urchins Gods goof creatures? Why then is it not lawful to name them?”
In the story Beware the Cat, it connects to the movement of the Renaissance and the Elizabethan era. “For God commanded by Moyses, that after the sun went down; all such as were hanged or otherwise put to death should be buried, lest in the sun saw them the next day; his wrath should come upon them and plague them, as he hath doon this and many other Realmes for the like transgression.” In the Bible Jesus went through the 14 stations of the cross. In the line it states an individual shall be put down to death or be buried and the towns people saw him the next day. This is similar to the 14th station of the cross because after Jesus died on the cross he was then taken down and was placed in the tomb, then resurrected on the 3rd day. “Yet was she very holy and religious and therefore although that all images were forbidden… sometime a hole houre saying over her bedes and praying her to be good onto her, and… would honor and serue her during all her life.” In the town those who practiced the religion would get down to their knees and pray over their beads which is also known as the rosary. The people who prayed to him would serve him all their life and be faithful. Also talking about Queen Mary who enacted the pro-Catholic legislation and almost 300 convicted heretics, mostly citizens died in the cell hold and other fled to stronghold to protect them from believing in what they want. Over all, the Renaissance and the Elizabethan age focused mainly on Anti-Catholicism against the Roman Catholics. The author, William Baldwin purpose was to show what the Cats known as Catholics were treated and how others were treated for what they protested.”