Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

John Howe (1630–1705) on Divine Simplicity: A Debate over Spinozism

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this chapter

+ Tax (if applicable)

Chapter Summary

Seventeenth-century Reformed theology faced a radical challenge from Cartesian notions of substance and simplicity. This chapter demonstrates that John Howe's attack on Spinoza's teaching of divine simplicity is indicative of Reformed efforts to restate the compatibility of divine simplicity with divine attributes, and, contrary to some modern readings, establishes the point that 'simplicity' as understood in the era of Protestant orthodoxy did not entail an absence of distinctions in the Godhead. It first identifies an emergence of Spinozism and its implication for the notion of simplicity in the late seventeenth century. The chapter then shows how Howe responded to Spinoza's monistic argument in order to vindicate the distinctions of divine attributes. These examinations clarify that a different appropriation of the notion of simplicity came into being in the late seventeenth century and Howe responded to the new interpretation by restating a traditional Reformed understanding of divine simplicity.

Keywords: divine simplicity; John Howe; protestant orthodoxy; seventeenth-century reformed theology; Spinoza's teaching



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Church and School in Early Modern Protestantism — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation