By Dmitri Levitin

Seventeenth-century England has lengthy been heralded because the birthplace of a so-called 'new' philosophy. but what contemporaries may need understood by means of 'old' philosophy has been little preferred. during this booklet Dmitri Levitin examines English attitudes to historic philosophy in unparalleled intensity, demonstrating the centrality of engagement with the background of philosophy to nearly all trained folks, even if students, clerics, or philosophers themselves, and aligning English highbrow tradition heavily to that of continental Europe. Drawing on an unlimited array of resources, Levitin demanding situations the idea that curiosity in historic rules used to be constrained to out-of-date 'ancients' or was once in a few feel 'pre-enlightened'; certainly, a lot of the highbrow justification for the hot philosophy got here from re-writing its historical past. whilst, the deep funding of English students in pioneering sorts of past due humanist erudition led them to strengthen one of the most leading edge narratives of historical philosophy in early glossy Europe.

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One of the central themes of this book, especially in Chapters 2, 3 and 6, is that it was precisely the tensions between this investment and the demands of religious and theological apologetics that stimulated many of the most important developments in English attitudes to ancient pagan philosophy and its relationship to the Judaeo-Christian ideas. 96 But just as important is the institutionalisation of criticism within a typical (successful) clerical career. 98 This relies either on imagining intellectual contacts where there is no evidence for them,99 or, more broadly, on attempting to spot those things we find ‘modern’ in someone who was key in the political development of that 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 Robert Boyle, Some considerations touching the style of the Scriptures (1661), in Boyle Works, ii, 450.

Diogenes Laertius . . were practically useless’, citing Jean Le Clerc, Ars critica . . (2 vols, Amsterdam, 1697), ii, 449–50. Le Clerc here says nothing of the sort, instead preaching caution about Laërtius’s lists of various philosophers’ writings, and actually praising Ménage on this score. Durling, ‘Renaissance editions and translations of Galen’ (1961) remains essential. 1 below for seminal works on medical humanism. Goulding, Ramus, Savile, and the Renaissance rediscovery of mathematical history (2010) is an excellent study, also discussing the available sources.

108 I hope this is reflected in my own prose, where I have tried to convey the appropriate level of empirical evidence for each claim,109 although no doubt I have allowed my language to mislead and to overplay the coherence of my story. Concomitantly, the extensive scholarly apparatus stems from my desire to convey what the subjects under study here were actually doing as historians: this has involved charting their sources, their precise engagement with contemporaries and European scholars more generally, and, whenever possible, documenting any evidence of them at work.

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Ancient Wisdom in the Age of the New Science: Histories of by Dmitri Levitin
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