Mosaic Physics and the Search for a Pious Natural Philosophy in the Late Renaissance
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CitationBlair, Ann. 2000. Mosaic physics and the search for a pious natural philosophy in the late Renaissance. Isis 91(1): 32-58.
AbstractIn the tense religious climate of the late Renaissance (ca. 1550-1650), traditional charges of impiety directed against Aristotle carried new weight. Many turned to alternative philosophical authorities in the search for a truly pious philosophy. Another, "most pious" solution was to ground natural philosophy on a literal reading of the Bible, especially Genesis. I examine this kind of physics, often called Mosaic, or sacred, or Christian, through the example of Johann Amos Comenius and those whom he praises as predecessors in his attempt to reform physics according to the "divine light" of Scripture. In analyzing the works of these authors, I conclude that what they shared most effectively was an agenda rather than a practice. They defended the single, universal truth of a "Christian philosophy" grounded in biblical literalism against the impious excesses of philosophical naturalism, on the one hand, and against the antiphilosophical attacks of extreme theologians, on the other hand. This peculiar strand of natural philosophy, neither traditional nor "modern," needs to be included in attempts to map the complex dynamics of contemporary debates and self-presentations.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3373450
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