chapter  3
Chaos
Pages 25

As we have seen (p. 20) Renaissance humanists came especially to revere the Ancient Greek and Roman classics as aesthetic and intellectual 'authorities', but they had great respect for all antiquity per se. This was in part because it was believed that the immediate descendants of Adam and Eve had been in direct communication with God and must inevitably have been profoundly influenced by His grace as well as His power. It was taken for granted that they must have been morally better than those who came later so that in those early years just following the Fall men lived in harmonious peace. Undoubtedly romantic views of an idyllic past were also influenced by classical legends as well as by the Scriptures; there was the Greek myth of an original Golden Age, succeeded by the less perfect Silver Age which degenerated into the Bronze Age and finally into the even more corrupt Iron Age. Thus classical legend supported Christian teaching and, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it was generally supposed that there had been a steady moral decline. Hence it came to be accepted that ideas from the relatively recent past, in particular the logic and rationalism of the Schools, were less valuable than what was taken to be the holy mysticism of earlier times.