Newton, the Lord God of Israel and Knowledge of Nature

  • James E. Force
Part of the Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 138)


In the nineteenth century, the triumvirate of W.E.H. Lecky, John W. Draper, and Andrew D. White eagerly cataloged an all out “warfare” between modern science and religion, a “conflict” in which science “rose” and religion, generally categorized as superstitious and irrational, “fell.”1 Today such Whiggish historiography is out of fashion given our inability to ignore the impact of the design argument and our ever widening understanding of the role religion played in the thinking of such private men as, for example, Isaac Newton. Basil Willey speaks for the majority of twentieth century historians when he writes of the “holy alliance between science and religion” in eighteenth century England.2


Middle Path Design Argument History ofScience Biblical Criticism Theological Doctrine 
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  1. 1.
    W. E. H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, 2 vols. (London, 1865)Google Scholar
  2. 1a.
    John W. Draper, A History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (New York, 1875)Google Scholar
  3. 1b.
    Andrew D. White, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology, 2 vols. (New York, 1896.)Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    Basil Willey, The Eighteenth Century Background (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972), p. 162.Google Scholar
  5. 3.
    Norman Hampson, The Enlightenment (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979), p. 28.Google Scholar
  6. 4.
    Richard S. Westfall, Science and Religion in Seventeenth Century England (Ann Arbor: The Univ. of Michigan Press, 1973) p. 219.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Frank E. Manuel, The Religion of Isaac Newton (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974) p. 66.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1994

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  • James E. Force

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