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Word Count: 2,376
Although it is universally recognised that there was a sixteenth century renaissance a body of historians now argue that there were in fact three renaissances in Western Europe These two earlier renaissances took place in the seventh and twelfth centuries and in the latter some argue that we see an emergence of man coming to terms with his self or his individuality It is important here to define what we are looking for in this essay Indiscriminate use both terms would certainly lead to confusion the terms self and individuals are too easily mixed up and confused with one another The individual is a modern concept to the people of the twelfth century individual was just a technically term in the study of dialectic To us the individual is a person who acts entirely independently from other forces a man unconstrained and able to grow into whatever he makes himself If we try to retrospectively apply this concept to the twelfth century we fail to understand the era we are examining Twelfth century conception of the nature of the self and what we call personality was different tours today Persona was a word not describing ones individuality but describing the mask one might put in front of himself as an actor JF Benton states the matter in a metaphor of direction in the Middle Ages the journey inward was a journey toward self for the sake of God today it is commonly for the sake of self alone Hugh of St Victor for example equated ascent to God with entry into yourself The modern secular person setting out to find himself would strip away all the layers of conformity and contrived artifice to find what truly lies inside In medieval times the persona was not what lay within but what was built up around the outside When you delved deep inside yourself you found your soul - and that itself was in likeness of
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