Date of this Version

April 2002

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Harrison, Peter (2002) ‘Original Sin and the Problem of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe’, Journal of the History of Ideas 63, pp. 239-59.

©2002 John Hopkins University Press. All rights reserved.

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While historians such as Charles Webster have alluded to the ways in which the myth of an original perfect philosophy motivated projects for the advancement of learning in a rather general way, little attention has been paid to the manner in which early-modern views of the nature of the original fall from knowledge directly informed the methods of the new sciences, determined the scope of their enquiry, and provided ammunition for use against traditional learning. Harrison suggests that the biblical narrative of the Fall played a far more direct role in the development of early modern knowledge - both in England and on the Continent - than has often been assumed.



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