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date: 21 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses natural theology in the early modern period. It demonstrates that early modern natural theology was a contested arena, in which a number of different standpoints might be justified based on the history of classical or Christian thought; that those different positions reflected disagreements about how one should read the evidence of nature, and what weight one should give to the Bible and to reason as lights to guide one in doing; and that natural theology had an important and changing role to play in the Aristotelian curriculum that dominated the universities of Western Europe until at least the late seventeenth century. The chapter then considers successful late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century natural theologies that were written by theologians, followed by discussions of revolutions in knowledge and natural philosophy, and the impact of Descartes and Newton.

Keywords: early modern period, natural theology, nature, Aristotelian curriculum, theologians, natural philosophy, Descartes, Newton

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