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The Printing Press Revolution and the Fall of Religious Authority

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Sam Garcia

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of The Printing Press Revolution and the Fall of Religious Authority

Catholic Authority and the
Pre-Printing Press Era The Printing Press Revolution and the
Loss of Religious Authority Modern Society, the Vast Expansion of Knowledge, and the Loss of Catholic Authority THE PRINT REVOLUTION During the early 1400’s before the invention of the printing press in Europe, the middle and lower classes were uneducated and uninformed. They were uneducated in politics, world events, and technological innovation. It was extremely difficult to acquire information and knowledge due to the lack of books available and the expensive price. Up until and during this time the Catholic Church had a huge monopoly over the public’s religious orientation and controlled the lower and middle class with its information and knowledge. Before the printing press, books were produced in large monasteries in rooms called scriptoria where monks would copy manuscripts. During this time, the only books available were for those in high royal stature or religious institutions. With the containment of knowledge to only a select portion of the population, the spread of knowledge was difficult, and religious organizations would remain an intellectual powerhouse up until the Gutenberg Printing Revolution in 1450. This Printing Revolution would soon lead to the expansion of knowledge around the world and change the Church’s authority forever... As Kovarik states, "the printing revolution was the pivotal development in history, the turning point in the transition between the Medieval and modern worlds" Gutenberg perfected Chinese type technology and developed the first printing press in Europe in the mid 1400's. Print technology spread quickly over Europe and allowed the spread of knowledge and encouraged the public to challenge authority by enabling mass communication. Eisenstien outlines numerous examples of historical developments due to the printing press.

>The ability for identical words and images to be reproduced and then viewed simultaneously by scattered readers

>The development and bringing together of new occupations and diverse skills

>The opportunity to review a variety of publications and do comparisons. These comparisons lead to the development of new knowledge and new ideas. BEFORE AFTER The most popular printed piece of work was the Gutenberg Bible, published in 1452 and allowed millions of literate readers to interpret the passages and readings for themselves expanding their knowledge and opinions. This, in turn, led to the demise of the Catholic Church’s religious monopoly and power among the lower and middle class that had spread continent-wide. The church has suffered greatly from the spread of knowledge and mass printed media, and today are still undergoing the effects of Gutenberg’s technological advancement that changed the course of history and human progression forever. Eisenstien and Kovarik both share the belief that the technological innovation, that is the printing press, lead to the evolution of human opinion, quest for increasing self-knowledge, and had taken us out of the last of the oral culture that remained. Published for the public in 1452, it allowed millions of literate readers to interpret the passages and readings for themselves, further expanding their knowledge and opinions (R. Abel). This, in turn, led to the demise of the Catholic Church’s religious monopoly and power among the lower and middle class that had spread continent-wide. BUT HOW DOES THIS RELATE TO & EFFECT THE AUTHORITARIAN POWER OF THE CHURCH? The Industrial Revolution that would emerge in the beginning of the 1800's would usher in a new era for type and publication, particularly with Lord Stanhope’s invention of the first all cast-iron printing press, doubling the usable paper size and drastically reducing the use of manual labour.


TECHNOLOGY E X P A N D S.
KNOWLEDGE IS ACQUIRED FASTER.
PROGRESS BEGINS. The church had suffered greatly from the rapid expansion of knowledge and mass printed media. They began to see a diminishing population in their daily/weekly Mass. With the public gaining access to publications like the Bible, people were studying it on their own, making their own conclusions and interpretations and beginning to challenge the Church and its beliefs. Progress brought new technology, science, reasoning, sublime creations made by man, and the Enlightenment: The movement that took place between the 17th and 18th centuries that transformed millions of individuals from a religious culture of life to a technological one that aimed to educate and improve the self as a whole. (D. Lature) As the progression of knowledge continued to rise among the reading public the Church no longer had the authoritarian command it once demanded. -- This means they had lost their control over the beliefs of the mass, and had lost the ability to dictate to the illiterate public what is wrong and what is right within the Catholic Faith and the Bible. KNOWLEDGE EISENSTEIN KOVARIK THEIR BELIEFS (as similar to many, many, MANY, others.) The most popular printed piece of work during this time was the Bible. Today, the Catholic Church is still undergoing the effects of Gutenberg’s technological advancement that changed the course of history and human progression forever. A video to start ... PRIVATE Theorists like Elizabeth Eisenstein note that "the circulation or prints and engravings made it possible for a reigning dynasty to impress a personal presence on a mass consciousness in a new way". However, sharing content with the public sphere of society can be dangerous -- public opinions begin to rise and the reigning dynasty becomes a target of mass-criticism. PUBLIC As Marshall McLuhan states, "With progress comes CHANGE". Through the development and utilization of Gutenberg's 1450 Printing Press came the beginning of worldwide shared knowledge, the realization of human potential with the Enlightenment, and the breakdown of Elite powers (the Church) over the "uneducated" or poor. The medium was the message.
The medium is the message.
The medium will always be the message.
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