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Scientific Encounters

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Chapter Summary

The history of the term natural science is astonishingly short. It is a result of a process of exclusion that set in with the so-called scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and reached its peak in the aftermath of the Enlightenment. The model of competition assumes that pre-modernparticularly medievalculture had been characterized by a unity of Christian theology and research into nature, a unity that modernity broke into pieces. The Merton thesis was hotly debated in the twentieth century. Focusing on this chapter of early modern science the author addresses the experimental dimension of sixteenth-century esotericism, the relationship between Dees empiricism, visionary interests, and philosophy of nature, and the apocalyptic cultural framework that structured his experiments. Depending on the perspective, John Dee has been described as natural philosopher, scientist, mathematician, magician, astrologer, alchemist, kabbalist, or eschatological theologian.

Keywords: Christian theology; John Dee; natural philosophy



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