Looking for a Renaissance - Gregory Wolfe
Looking for a Renaissance
by Gregory Wolfe
Most educated people, in addition to a set of favorite authors, artists, and composers, develop a fascination for one or more historic cultures: republican Rome, say, or colonial New England or the Ming dynasty. Sometimes these passions are matters of aesthetic or intellectual taste, but often they bear a relationship to the individual’s ideas about what constitutes the good life and how the ideals of a past culture might nurture and strengthen one’s own. Of course, the prevailing worldview of a given time period may play a role in guiding what the majority find engaging. After several centuries of admiration for ancient Greece and Rome, Europeans, swayed by the Romantic movement, turned to the Middle Ages; tired of rationalism and artifice, they saw in the medieval world a model of a more organic, earthy sensibility—attuned to nature rather than the works of man.