history: Renaissance Historiography

Renaissance Historiography

The humanism of the Renaissance revolutionized historiography, for it placed emphasis on textual criticism and on a critical attitude toward documents and sources. Men such as Petrarch, Lorenzo Valla, Marsilius of Padua, and Juan Luis Vives did much to produce a more critical attitude toward the past. Revival of classical learning immediately affected historians, and in one sense Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini followed in the steps of Greek and Roman historians, although their work was original and immediate. Both the Reformation and the Catholic Reformation furthered historical scholarship, as both sides used the past to support their religious views. Critical methods in history were forwarded in the 16th and 17th cent. by the writings of Jean Bodin and Jean Mabillon, and great critical collections of sources were begun (e.g., the Acta sanctorum), while antiquaries everywhere discovered, questioned, and emended old texts. The way was prepared for the beginning of modern history.

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