The Theological Works

MORE, Henry. The Theological Works.

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MORE, Henry. The Theological Works. London: Printed and sold by Joseph Downing, 1708.

Folio, contemporary calf, ruled and bordered in blind to boards, six raised bands to spine; with modern contrasting leather label gilt; red speckled edges; with frontis portrait of the author; pp. [ii], [frontis], [iv], xiv, 856, [ii]; mispaginated in places but complete with all signatures and catch-words correct; internally very clean, save for the odd ink splash and spot, the odd finger mark, and some light rubbing to the print; some light spotting and toning in places due to inferior paper stock; near-contemporary ownership inscription in ink to ffep; rebacked, preserving the original spine, with repairs to splits and patching to the leather, which is also re-glued in places; still a lovely fresh example of a rare work in a contemporary binding.
This edition according the Author's improvements in his Latin Edition, including the chapters An Enquiry into the Mystery of Iniquity(1664) and An Antidote against Idolatry.
Henry More (1614–1687) was a theologian and philosopher broadly categorised as part of the Cambridge Platonists school of thought which was prevalent throughout the 17th century. As a rationalist theologian, he attempted to utilise the mechanical philosophy developed by René Descartes, Robert Boyle, and others, in an attempt to establish the nature and existence of immaterial substance, or spirit and, therefore, God. He was regarded with suspicion for most of his lifetime, and his popularity only began to rise after his death, in 1687. In more recent scholarship, More has been seen as a significant influence upon Isaac Newton, particularly his ideas on absolute space, and this, together with his role in introducing Cartesianism into England, has assured his continual inclusion in histories of science of the period. In fact, a manuscript copy of the correspondence between More and Descartes, has recently been found among Newton’s personal papers (Hutton 2020).
By the time he graduated from Cambridge in 1639, More had already begun to develop his thought on Neoplatonic philosophy, as well as his own dualistic ideas emphasising the immateriality of the soul. The earliest of these was Psychodia Platonica initially published in 1642.
More read Descartes’s Principia philosophiae in 1646, and it had a very profound effect upon him and upon the subsequent development of his own philosophy. “All that have attempted anything in naturall Philosophy hitherto are mere shrimps and fumblers in comparison of him”, More wrote in 1648 (Letter to Hartlib, 11 December 1648, Webster 1969, 365). Accordingly, he began to teach Descartes’s mechanical philosophy to interested students in Cambridge, and so became one of the earliest conduits for the dissemination of Cartesianism in Britain. More is credited with inventing the word, Cartesianism, and has been said to be behind the strangely Platonic reading of Descartes’s methodology in the anonymous preface to the first English translation of the Discourse of a Method (1649) (Cristofolini 1974). The pair had frequent, and animated correspondence, although More’s relationship with Descartes work was complex, and he went on to oppose, and even reject, many of his claims.
ESTC T98975.