Humanist Theology

Scholarship Challenges Tradition

In the end, it proved impossible to consummate the marriage of humanism and the Catholic condition. In the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, a few humanists thought they could use their skills as scholars to reanimate the church. Humanist theologians insisted that the formal theology of the universities was far less valuable than a direct knowledge of the biblical text, and that the documents that supported the church's priveleges should be subjected to critical scrutiny, like any others. But even in the early Renaissance, these men came under fire from the professionals they criticized. And in the later sixteenth century, as the Protestants mounted their radical challenge to papal supremacy and Catholic orthodoxy, the Roman church became a center not only of scholarly inquiry but of systematic censorship. Even the staff of the library took part in suppressing facts and ideas that proved inconvenient--like the fact that important documents of the canon law were fakes. By the end of the sixteenth century, the church was less interested in wedding humanism than in taming it.

From here there are exits to rooms with: You can also walk back to the Main Hall.