John Ray in 1695: The Flood, Fossils, and Extinction

fossil-butte-visitor-center-leaves

John Ray, one of England’s greatest 17th century natural theologians, spent much time pondering the meaning of fossils or “formed stones” as they were called then.  I have shared some of his thoughts about fossils and Earth’s history before (See:  John Ray on Flood Geology: Words that Still Apply Today).   In a correspondence with […]

Testing Book-smarts with Observation: John Ray (1735) on the Value of Knowledge Creation

DuffPlantBooks-office

Should professors at Universities be active participants in generating and testing ideas or should they be content to be teachers of what is already known? Most higher educational institutions, such as the one that employs me, continually grapple with how to strike a balance between encouraging knowledge creation and dissemination past knowledge. Put another way, […]

NH Notes: John Ray on the Purpose of Creation in “The Wisdom of God”

Sunflower struck by the suns rays at sunrise. Late summer in northeast Ohio.  Photo by Joel Duff

The Englishman and natural historian John Ray is best known for his book, The Wisdom of God.  Like many other books of the 18th century, he continually revised and reissued his book until the time of his death.  Even after his death notes that he had made on manuscripts were incorporated into later editions.   As a result of […]

John Ray on the Purpose of Creation in “The Wisdom of God”

Hubble telescope image of the Sombrero Galaxy

The Englishman natural historian John Ray is best known for his book The Wisdom of God.  Like many books at the time, he continually revised and reissued until the time of his death and then even after his death edits he had made to manuscripts were incorporated into later editions.   As a result of these many […]

Ray to Lhwyd in 1695 continued: Fossils and the Flood

Nodule containing fern fossil (click for larger image)

The same letter of Ray’s to Lhwyd in 1695 that I posted recently goes on to explain Ray’s feelings about the new flood theories that were being promoted in the late 1600s and some observations on fossils.    The letter reveals Ray’s reading of the prevailing interpretation of the flood narratives of Genesis in his day.  […]

Mather on Genesis 1:21: What is the great sea creature?

SeaMonster

A note on Genesis 1:21 and the creation of the great sea creature  From page 328 of the 2011 translation of Cotton Mather’s Biblia Americana vol 1 we find the following question and answer: “Q.  What are the Creatures intended in the Original, where our Translation reads, Great Whales?  V.21. A.  Job Ludolphus ha’s demonstrated, […]

A New Old Genesis Commentary – The Mather Project

Cotton Mather - Biblia Americana

An interesting new resource for research into 17th century natural history has been made available this year in the form of the first of what will be 10 volumes of the monumental work Biblia American by Cotton Mather (1663-1928).    The first volume coves this American puritan’s commentary on Genesis.   Unfortunately the book is rather expensive […]