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The Book Of Nature: From Axiom To Metaphor

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Chapter Summary

The Dutch interpretation of the notion of the Book of Nature closely followed the Augustinian tradition. The Book of Nature thus assumed a privileged position vis-à-vis the comparable, essentially strictly secular notions such as the theatrum mundi or the world as work of art. Taken on its own, probably none of Hendrik Groenewegen's questions posed a threat to the axiom that the Bible should also be taken literally on matters relating to natural inquiry, but anyone who surveyed them came to the conclusion that the relation between the Bible and the Book of Nature was not unproblematic. The example of Friederich Spanheim shows how the Book of Nature has lost its privileged position in orthodox circles as well. From now on it becomes just one of the many metaphors for the creation.

Keywords: Augustinian tradition; Bible; Book of Nature; Dutch scholars



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