Date of Award

4-16-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Reiner Smolinski - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Sattelmeyer

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul Schmidt

Abstract

The subject of this project is Cotton Mather's relationship to science. As a minister, Mather's desire to harmonize science with religion is an excellent medium for understanding the effects of the early Enlightenment upon traditional views of Scripture. Through "Biblia Americana" and The Christian Philosopher, I evaluate Mather's effort to relate Newtonian science to the six creative days as recorded in Genesis 1. Chapter One evaluates Mather's support for the scientific theories of Isaac Newton and his reception to natural philosophers who advocate Newton's theories. Chapter Two highlights Mather's treatment of the dominant cosmogonies preceding Isaac Newton. The Conclusion returns the reader to Mather's principal occupation as a minister and the limits of science as informed by his theological mind. Through an exploration of Cotton Mather's views on science, a more comprehensive understanding of this significant early American and the ideological assumptions shaping his place in American history is realized.

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