The Renaissance placed human beings at the center of life and showed that this world was not just a ‘vale of tears.’ Instead, life on Earth could meaningful on its own and it was possible for people to live without reference to the divine. The Renaissance or ‘rebirth’ was influenced by the ideas of the ancient past and it drew from Roman and Greek civilization in order to provide a solution to current problems.
The Renaissance was a Pan-European phenomenon and changed the mental worldview of the elites in Europe and indeed the emerging middle class across the continent. The cultural movement was to have a profound impression on people’s worldview. The Renaissance produced the Humanists who were a movement of educationalists and scholars, they sought truth and knowledge by re-examining classical texts and the bible. The Humanists ideas, the growth in textual analysis, and the Northern Renaissance changed the intellectual landscape and encouraged many Church reformers, such as Martin Luther and they later broke with Rome and divided Europe into two confessional camps, Protestantism and Catholicism.
The concept of God and his historical development is an extraordinarily complex topic and it is not easily addressed in ten books. These books seek attempt to explain a complex story on how the concept of God, or single divine being, developed in different cultures, places, and across time. The history of the idea of God is long and has its roots from prehistoric to early historic periods in the ancient Near East. Later cultures developed concepts that derive from ancient Iran, Greece, Egypt, and perhaps other regions. In a period over several hundred years, in the late first millennium BC and during the first centuries AD, several faiths, including Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism emerged that took the idea of God to levels that influence us today. While no easy task, here are the ten best books that try to make sense of this complex history.
Today the god Mithra or Mithras is not recognized by many in the West. Mithra is often seen as just one of the many gods that was once worshiped in Europe, the Near East, and South Asia. However, in the early centuries of Christianity, one can argue the worship of Mithras rivaled influence and importance of Christianity. If Christianity had failed to plant itself in Europe, it may have been possible for Mithraism to become a lasting and significant religion in Asia and Europe. The Mithra faith may have also influenced both Christianity and other later religions. Read more at DailyHistory.org.