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A strange and surprising debate: mountains, original sin and 'science' in seventeenth-century England

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Endeavour
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)76-80
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

It could come as a shock to learn that some seventeenth-century men of science and learning thought that mountains were bad. Even more alarmingly, some thought that God had imposed them on the earth to punish man for his sins. By the end of the seventeenth century, surprisingly many English natural philosophers and theologians were engaged in a debate about whether mountains were ‘good’ or ‘bad’, useful or useless. At stake in this debate were not just the careers of its participants, but arguments about the best ways of looking at and reckoning with ‘nature’ itself.