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SCIENTIFIC UNIFORMITY OR “NATURAL” DIVINE ACTION: SHIFTING THE BOUNDARIES OF LAW IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

Bossoh, NKC; (2021) SCIENTIFIC UNIFORMITY OR “NATURAL” DIVINE ACTION: SHIFTING THE BOUNDARIES OF LAW IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. Zygon® (zygo.126) 10.1111/zygo.12678. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In October 1862, the Duke of Argyll published an article in the Edinburgh Review entitled “The Supernatural.” In it, Argyll argued that contrary to the prevailing assumption, miracles were “natural” rather than “supernatural” acts of God. This reconceptualization was a response to the controversial publication Essays and Reviews (1860), which challenged orthodox Biblical doctrine. Argyll's characterization of a miracle was not novel; a number of early modern Newtonian thinkers had advanced the same argument for similar reasons. New in this nineteenth‐century reconceptualization, however, were (1) the recent geological, physical, and evolutionary developments and (2) the introduction of German higher criticism. Argyll and the neo‐Newtonians thus attempted to construct a philosophico‐theological alternative, which would constitute a middle‐position between the traditional acceptance and liberal rejection of miracles. I argue finally that 21st‐century debates on divine action in fact exist as part of a longer historical tradition that dates back to Augustine.

Type: Article
Title: SCIENTIFIC UNIFORMITY OR “NATURAL” DIVINE ACTION: SHIFTING THE BOUNDARIES OF LAW IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12678
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/zygo.12678
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Science and Technology Studies
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10121544
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