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God, Scripture, And The Rise Of Modern Science (1200–1700): Notes In The Margin Of Harrison'S Hypothesis

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Chapter Summary

This chapter assumes, with Huizinga and Harrison, that the symbolic view of nature diverted attention away from nature to God and that the rise of modern science required a focus on nature for its own sake. To understand why Harrison thinks the turn from symbolic to causal thought was an important condition for the rise of modern science we need to sketch some details of nature symbolism. If the problem for the Protestant reformers was indeterminacy of meaning of Scripture texts and this was seen as the result of factual allegory, then the solution would have been the rejection of indeterminacy of meaning (allegory). The Protestant reformers failed to achieve agreement on the interpretation of Scripture texts on important theological issues. Harrison makes the weaker claim that the Protestant reformers were pursuing determinacy of meaning primarily though not exclusively by means of literal interpretation.

Keywords: Harrison; Huizinga; literal interpretation; modern science; Protestant reformers; Scripture; symbolism



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