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Publication Details

Samuel Pike: A Forgotten Successor of Early Modern Mosaic Physics

(Original title: Samuel Pike: Pozapomenutý dědic raně novověké mosaické fyziky)
Filozofia, 79 (2024), 3, 277 - 289.
Type of work: Original Articles
Publication language: Czech
The paper deals with the work Philosophia Sacra: Or The Principles of Natural Philosophy. Extracted from Divine Revelation, published in 1753 by the relatively unknown English clergyman Samuel Pike (circa 1717 – 1773). This work falls within the tradition of the so-called Mosaic physics, a specific Early Modern endeavor to build natural philosophy based on a literal reading of the Holy Scriptures, particularly the first chapters of the book of Genesis attributed to Moses – hence the term “Mosaic.” For this reason, at the beginning of the paper, the author seeks to introduce the fundamental ideas of this movement as expressed by its key proponents, namely L. Daneau, O. Casmann, and K. Aslakssøn. In the subsequent analysis of Pike’s natural-philosophical conception, the author highlights its specific features, including obvious Newtonian influences on the one hand (Pike’s work was written about a century and a half later than the texts of the ‘founding fathers’ of Mosaic physics and must have been influenced by the contemporary discourse). On the other hand, Pike’s work exhibits strong, albeit implicit, similarities with the ideas of J. A. Comenius, another thinker associated with Early Modern Mosaic physics (and often considered its most significant representative, which are explored in the concluding part of the text. It can be said that Pike’s work appears as a remarkable and highly original culmination of the Mosaic natural philosophy tradition, combining a range of seemingly unexpected, if not outright contradictory, motifs.

Samuel Pike, Isaac Newton, Johannes Amos Comenius, Mosaic physics, Bible, Early modern science

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