Scientific Uniformity or “Natural” Divine Action: Shifting the Boundaries of Law in the Nineteenth Century

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...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Zygon
Main Author: Bossoh, Nathan K. C. ca. Geburtsjahr 1991/1992
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: [2021]
In:Zygon
Year: 2021, Volume: 56, Issue: 1, Pages: 234-253
Further subjects:B German higher criticism
B rationalists
B New Reformation
B Miracles
B neo-Newtonians
B Duke of Argyll
B evidentialists
B John Tyndall
B Baden Powell
B Supernatural
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Summary: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.
ISSN:1467-9744
Contains:Enthalten in: Zygon
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1111/zygo.12678