17th Century Fusion of Physics and Theology

Theology and the Scientific Imagination: From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Amos Funkenstein. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1986. 421 pp. $47.50. In the grand old tradition of Arthur Lovejoy's The Great Chain of Being—only rarely practiced today— Amos Funkenstein has given us a taste of what we've been missing. By tracing the intellectual vicissitudes of a set of theological/philosophical ideas from the 12th to the 18th centuries, he is able to make importa

Mordechai Feingold
Apr 19, 1987
Theology and the Scientific Imagination: From the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Amos Funkenstein. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1986. 421 pp. $47.50.


In the grand old tradition of Arthur Lovejoy's The Great Chain of Being—only rarely practiced today— Amos Funkenstein has given us a taste of what we've been missing. By tracing the intellectual vicissitudes of a set of theological/philosophical ideas from the 12th to the 18th centuries, he is able to make important observations about major events in the history of Western culture.

The focus of the study is the three major attributes of the Deity: omnipotence, omnipresence and providence. By close documentation of the mutations that took place within each of these attributes, Funkenstein, who is. a professor of Jewish culture and history at Stanford University, demonstrates the demise of the medieval "theocentric" theology and its replacement by a "cosmocentric" theology, which dominated the...

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