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Sacred Philosophy, Secular Theology: The Mosaic Physics Of Levinus Lemnius (1505–1568) And Francisco Valles (1524–1592)

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Chapter Summary

Mosaic physics was based both on a close reading of biblical passages dealing with the natural world and engagement with a wide variety of natural philosophical writers and ideas. This chapter analyzes the writings of two sixteenth-century Mosaic physicists, Levinus Lemnius (1505?1568) and Francisco Valles (1524?1592). Amos Funkenstein attributes the rise of secular theology to the erosion of the professional boundaries around theology caused by the combined onslaught of humanism and Protestantism, the spread of printing and lay literacy and the rise of courts as alternative intellectual centers rivaling the universities. Sacred Philosophy is organized as a biblical commentary. That is, each chapter takes a verse or verses from the Bible that touch on some aspect of the natural world and expounds on them. Throughout the text, Valles brings together natural philosophical knowledge and biblical exegesis in different ways.

Keywords: Amos Funkenstein; biblical passages; Francisco Valles; Levinus Lemnius; Mosaic physics; Sacred Philosophy; secular theology



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