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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

The statement that the Book of Nature was at the centre of an influential discourse in the Dutch Republic raises a number of problems. If instead of adopting the perspective of the 'mechanization of the world picture' the authors consider the Golden Age from the vantage point of a picture of nature that was entertained in a wide circle, then it is striking how widespread the passion for observing, anatomizing, collecting, describing, illustrating and classifying all kinds of creatures and phenomena was. Numerous well and lesser known preachers, poets, humanists and local dignitaries turn out to have studied nature through the microscope and the telescope, to have created collections of curiosities, to have written eulogies of God's revelation in the creation, or to have racked their brains regarding the question of the relation between contemporary knowledge and what was written in the Bible.

Keywords: Bible; Book of Nature; Dutch Republic; Golden Age

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