The Renaissance stands in most people's minds as a period of glorious intellectual accomplishment and artistic achievement. In fact, the period was transitional. While there was a gradual transition from the mysticism of the medieval period to the Age of Reason, progress was neither steady nor easy. Those few advocates of reason fought a long, difficult struggle against the established powers of faith and force.
As part of a series of courses on European history, this is a sequel to The Foundations of the Renaissance, and a chronological companion to The History of England (Part 3): 1337–1453. It identifies the growth of cultural products made possible by Aquinas's liberation of the faculty of reason, and contrasts that growth with the legacy of medieval religion and politics. It documents the increasing secularism and rationality of intellectual endeavors in the arts and technology in contrast with the increasingly corrupt Catholic Church and the violent legacy of feudal politics.
This lecture was recorded at the Objectivist Summer Conference 2008 in Newport Beach, CA.
(MP3 download; 4 hrs, 36 min, with Q & A; 253 MB)