The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1450s helped promote and spread new ideas💭 born from the Renaissance throughout Europe. The printing press also encouraged the growth of vernacular literature which later affected the development of national cultures.
Vernacular Literature consists of literature that is spoken in the common language of a specific region or nation.
The adoption/translation of texts that were understood by a wider audience. before this, in the Middle Ages, only the elites were educated in Latin, which was the predominant languages of most classical and religious texts.
The idea of the printing press was not new; it came from China in the 1000s but it wasn’t until Gutenberg took the idea and was able to create the machine. As a result, books became less expensive and more readily available which encouraged people to become more literate📖.
The printing press can also be seen as the cause for the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther’s “95 Theses” was able to be mass printed and led to Luther becoming the world’s first best-selling author. Copies of the document were printed in London a mere 2 weeks after its release and his translation of the New Testament in German sold 5,000 copies in just 2 weeks!
Image Courtesy of Modern Day Reformer
Other important books that the printing press helped to disseminate: 📚
The Gutenberg Bible - First book printed using movable type, it helped to establish the popularity of the printing press.
The New Testament - Erasmus of Rotterdam's edition of the New Testament revealed a new translation that revolutionized modern biblical studies.
Printing also helped propel the Scientific Revolution🔬 in the 16th and 17th centuries. Prior to the printing press, handwritten scientific accounts were hard to come by, expensive💲, and usually had errors. It was not just the speed that ideas could be spread, but the accuracy of those ideas that led to the printing press being an integral part of the Scientific Revolution.