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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

By contrast with its Patristic formulations, Christian theology in the early modern era is intimately caught up with empirical questions and questions of the sensory basis of knowledge. Some of these date back to the introduction of Aristotelianism into scholastic philosophy in the thirteenth century. But there were also a number of new developments in the seventeenth century, marked by a search for a mutually reinforcing combination of Christian theology and natural inquiry. There was one area in particular in which this approach was pursued, namely the history of the earth. In general terms, Christianity is very distinctive in its stress on doctrinal questions, and in the early modern era this doctrinal concern fits well with attempts to develop comprehensive theories about the natural realm.

Keywords: natural philosophy, Robert Boyle, physico-theology, empirical enquiry, sensation

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