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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines how Protestant natural philosophers incorporated theology into their study of nature. It focuses in particular on the impact of Lutheran beliefs, which have tended to receive less attention than seventeenth-century British Puritanism. After a brief discussion of changing historical ideas about Protestantism and science, it examines the specific ways in which Protestant theology influenced the natural philosophy practiced by its believers. It then discusses the reforms to natural philosophy developed by Luther and his disciple Philip Melanchthon and focuses on two areas of natural philosophy that were affected most strongly by Lutheran theology: medicine and astronomy. Finally, it shows the ways that trends in Protestant theology in the seventeenth century continued to influence ideas about natural philosophy, albeit in more diverse ways.

Keywords: Melanchthon, Wittenberg, sola scriptura, medicine, anatomy, astronomy, experience, empiricism, networks

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