Essay 3

From Paracelsus to Newton:
The Word of God, the Book of Nature, and the Eclipse of the "Emblematic World View"

James J. Bono
State University of New York at Buffalo

I do not assume the irrelevancy of Newton's pursuit of an ancient, occult wisdom to those great syntheses of his that mark the foundation of modern science. The Janus-like faces of Isaac Newton were after all the production of a single mind, and their very bifurcation may be more of a modern optical illusion than an actuality. Newton's mind was equipped with a certain fundamental assumption, common to his age, from which his various lines of investigation flowed naturally: the assumption of the unity of Truth. True knowledge was all in some sense a knowledge of God; Truth was one, its unity guaranteed by the unity of God. Reason and revelation were not in conflict but were supplementary. God's attributes were recorded in the written Word but were also directly reflected in the nature of nature. Natural philosophy thus had immediate theological meaning for Newton and he deemed it capable of revealing to him those aspects of the divine never recorded in the Bible or the record of which had been corrupted by time and human error. [1]

The unity of Sir Isaac Newton's various esoteric and exoteric studies, the fundamental intersection—even convergence—of what we would regard now as discordant discourses, and the grounding in religion of Newton's singular vision of Word and nature are foundational assumptions of much recent and revisionist Newtonian scholarship. This essay embraces the general spirit of the late Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs's remarks in the above epigraph, while offering them for two strategic reasons. First, as an assurance to the reader that the subject of this paper does have some pertinence to Newton, even if its focus (and the limits of my scholarly horizons and competence) situates him on the periphery of the essay's field of vision: for the Word of God and the Book of Nature do define metaphoric contexts for the narrative expression of Newton's "vision," or cultural project. Second, to suggest that certain specific features contributing to the general spirit of Dobbs's portrait of Newton need to stand out in sharper relief: what meanings might "the assumption of the unity of Truth" have for the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? How, and to what extent, was such "Truth" accessible to humans? What were the relationships between God, His Word, and nature? In what senses were God and His Word seen to be "reflected" in nature? And finally, how was theological meaning encoded in nature and "retrieved" by human interpreters?
I propose to approach Newton indirectly by surveying some of the terrain that surrounds, and perhaps leads up to, his own redescriptions of the boundaries of science and religion. Specifically, I want to see if we can bring some of the above features that Dobbs finds so prominent a part of Newton's double-faced genius into sharper relief by casting our gaze upon the role played by refashioned understandings of the Word of God and the Book of Nature in the eclipse of the "emblematic world view" now associated with the Scientific Revolution.

Section 1. The Emblematic World View
The emblematic world view can now be regarded as an important component of the historiography of the Scientific Revolution. This accomplishment is largely the work of William Ashworth, Jr., whose essay on this subject characterizes a way of thinking about the natural world that acquired a good deal of legitimacy in the sixteenth century. [2] While Ashworth is particularly telling in capturing the core meaning and importance of the emblematic world view, his attempts to explain its collapse are less satsisfying. Indeed, as I shall suggest, part of the problem is that this emblematic world view needs to be situated in a broader intellectual and cultural context before we can begin to account for its historical transformation. Before I begin by summarizing Ashworth's notion of the emblematic world view, let me first indicate the direction and larger purpose of the argument I shall be making.
First, I shall argue that we must consider what lies "beyond" the emblematic world view. I mean this in two senses: (1) I want to show that Ashworth's "emblematic world view" is part of a larger set of interpretive practices for reading the "Book of Nature" in this period. "Practices" and "reading" are central here: how did natural historians, physicians, and natural philosophers engage animate nature? What tools did they have at their disposal and how did they define (or redefine) them? (2) I also want to examine Ashworth's claims regarding the end of the emblematic world view: what lies "beyond" it? This is especially important in the present context, since Newton operates, in Ashworth's scheme, well outside the chronological limits of the emblematic world view. Yet, Ashworth's account of the latter's demise leaves us in a quandry when considering where to situate and how to account for Newton's complex, "Janus-faced," view of nature.
I shall also invoke the example of Paracelsianism in order to illustrate how we need to look "beyond the emblematic world view" in order to situate and understand the set of interpretive practices Ashworth discusses and relate them to complementary (and conflicting) practices among early modern students of nature, medicine, and the life sciences.
I shall, moreover, explore the metaphor of the "Book of Nature" as deployed in the sixteenth century as key to the question of the timing and causes of the end of the emblematic world view. Specifically, I propose the central importance of shifting cultural—especially Biblical—narratives to shifting understandings of the nature and meaning of this divine "book of nature." Here we shall see that the trope of nature as God's "text" forges a strong link between natural things and language: (1) because figuring Nature as a text raises the question of the proper language for reading and hence deciphering nature and natural things; and this, in turn, raises the question of the relationship of this "language of Nature" (the divine creative language?) to human languages; and (2) because the very legacy of the creation of Adamic man—conjoining perfect knowledge of language [the names of the Edenic creatures] with mastery of natural things—and his subsequent Edenic, postlapsarian, and post-Babylonic history underscores the common search for knowledge, wisdom, and dominion through recapturing the lost unity of the Adamic language and of Edenic natural forms.
Thus, the significance in postlapsarian history of diversity [variety and difference] and unity to both nature and language link the latter together culturally and historically. Their linking provides a key to dating, and understanding causes for, the decline of the emblematic world view. That is, by attending to the shifting valuations of originative unity versus difference and variety in the study of languages in the early-modern period we can better grasp the movements that led to the eclipse of that search for a seamless text of interconnected meanings (unity in diversity) in the "Book of Nature" that forms the context for the decline of Ashworth's "emblematic world view."

The Emblematic World View: Ashworth’s Thesis
I hope to show, even in this brief reappraisal, that when we look at natural history through contemporary eyes, we see an entirely different world from ours, a world where animals are just one aspect of an intricate language of metaphor, symbols, and emblems. This "emblematic world view," as I choose to call it, was the single most important factor in determining the content and scope of Renaissance natural history (p. 305).
According to William Ashworth, Jr., historians of Renaissance natural history have failed to ask the right questions and, as a result, have far too frequently drawn a skewed picture of their subject. In place of an account that sought to uncover the full range of practices employed by sixteenth-century naturalists and to understand the meanings that they discovered in the natural forms that constituted the objects of their gaze, modern historians have instead looked "for the roots of modern zoology and botany" (p. 304.) As a result, they have championed examples of natural history, such as Belon and Rondelet, that appear closest to the descriptive, anatomical, and classificatory preoccupations of a much later age. A towering, and unavoidable, figure such as Conrad Gesner, on the other hand, "is lauded for his attempt to gather firsthand information and for his illustrations; he is chided for his humanist fondness for philology and for his lack of any critical sense" (p. 304.)
Ashworth counters this dominant historiographical trend by first noting the exceptional contents of natural histories such as Gesner's, where an essay on the peacock, for example, would record not simply its description, but also its habits, characteristics (observed and reputed, from myriad sources), the etymology of its name, its association with colors, stones, rivers, etc. named after it, its mythological associations, and much, much more (p. 306.) As Ashworth suggests, "Gesner believed that to know the peacock, you must know its associations—its affinities, similitudes, and sympathies with the rest of the created order" (p. 306.) Second, Ashworth charts the various kinds of resources that the Renaissance naturalist would draw upon to flesh out his account of such associations. These included, according to Ashworth, "hieroglyphics," "antique coins and Renaissance medals," "Aesopic fables," "classical mythology," "adages and epigrams," and "emblems and devices" (pp. 307-11.) It is from the growing use of emblems that Ashworth coins his name for this style of natural history. A result of this trend was to expand the "web of associations" that the naturalist would provide for each animal or plant, so that Gesner's article, at eight pages, was soon outdone by Ulisse Aldrovandi's, which devoted thirty-one pages to the peacock (p. 313.)
Here, then, is Ashworth's own characterization of the perspective practiced by Renaissance natural historians:
The emblematic world view is, in my opinion, the single most important factor in determining late Renaissance attitudes toward the natural world, and the contents of their treatises about it. The essence of this view is the belief that every kind of thing in the cosmos has myriad hidden meanings and that knowledge consists of an attempt to comprehend as many of these as possible. To know the peacock, as Gesner wanted to know it, one must know not only what the peacock looks like but what its name means, in every language; what kind of proverbial associations it has; what it symbolizes to both pagans and Christians; what other animals it has sympathies and affinities with; and any other posssible connection it might have with stars, plants, minerals, numbers, coins, or whatever.... The notion that a peacock should be studied in isolation from the rest of the universe, and that inquiry should be limited to anatomy, physiology, and physical description, was a notion completely foreign to Renaissance thought (p. 312.)

Ashworth and the “End” of the Emblematic World View
According to Ashworth, "the demise of emblematic natural history was a crucial part of the development that we call the Scientific Revolution. It was not simply an aftermath of Descartes and the mechanical philosophy but an independent, and perhaps even broader, cultural shift that had profound consequences for the evolution of seventeenth-century science." [3] I am inclined to agree with Ashworth's assesment. I would, however, stress that the peculiar practices involved in his emblematic natural history represent but a portion of more extensive "technologies" for reading the Book of Nature as symbolic and as unified by an interconnected network of analogy and resemblance. This qualification becomes significant once we ask what changes produce the "demise of emblematic natural history."
Ashworth himself sees Joannes Jonston's Historia naturalis (1650-1653) as a "watershed publication" marking, if not the end of monumental publishing projects, the end at least of emblematic natural history. Jonston's discussion of the peacock, Ashworth notes, constitutes by Renaissance standards an insubstantial two pages, with little more than description. [4] What is Ashworth's explanation for this dramatic change?
Ashworth notes that attempts to write natural histories of animals found in the new world had to confront the singular circumstance that "the animals of the new world had no known similitudes." [5] Nature, or at least a part of it, seemed to have escaped the Renaissance network of symbols and meaning. Here, Ashworth appears to be onto a significant development, but he fails to press this line of inquiry far enough. Indeed, his essay leaves the impression that the simple profusion of new natural forms and the absence of ready-made emblematic associations for them was too wide a gap for the older symbolic mode of reading nature's book to bridge. I would argue, by contrast, that the assimilation of novelty, of difference, and even of vast and at first sight bewildering variety was a commonplace and strength of the emblematic, mythographic, and narrative traditions that Ashworth invokes as constituents of his emblematic world view. Thus, the tradition of examining and recuperating myths of the pagan gods extended well beyond Boccaccio and could attempt to embrace the mythographic structures and beliefs of native Americans, just as the culture, habits, political organization, and social structure of the new world natives presented challenges to theologians, lawyers, and political theorists who were nonetheless fully capable of responding without immediately jettisoning belief in the unity of human nature and humankind. [6] The problem then is not the absence of preexistent classical or postclassical emblematic associations, as Ashworth supposes, but rather when and why many Europeans abandoned habitual efforts to assimilate variety and difference to a preexistent divine architecture of resemblance and sympathetic/symbolic unity.
Another blow to the emblematic world view, for Ashworth, was the emergence of critical assessment of claims contained in the various fables, proverbs, myths, and emblems that surrounded particular animals in works by Gesner, Aldrovandi, and others. This critical perspective he traces to the new "antiquarianism and the quest for historical truth" of the seventeenth century. [7] Unfortunately, Ashworth's claims regarding the role played by northern European antiquarianism, with its attempts to use artifacts as "vital historical clues," though highly suggestive, remain insufficiently developed as an argument. In particular, if there is a new and critical attitude toward historical evidence evinced by the use of artifacts, [8] Ashworth does not give a convincing argument for its emergence. Of course, he is quite correct to point to the impressive development of "great museum collections" in the early seventeenth century as a significant event in the evolution of natural history, and undoubtedly this had an effect on fostering a comparative and critical spirit. [9] But one suspects that this critical spirit was not as fully developed, nor as internally consistent and uncontested, as Ashworth seems to imply. Certainly, in his list of antiquarian scholars one finds names, such as that of Jan Goropius Becanus, who remain wedded to the central importance of etymology for uncovering divine wisdom through attempts to rediscover and study the originary, Adamic language. [10]
Finally, Ashworth, in my opinion, comes closest to articulating a line of inquiry that can begin to make sense of the "demise" of the emblematic world view in a brief section on Sir Francis Bacon. There, he notes that "Bacon's rejection of the notion that the natural world is a divine language, encoded by God, is almost certainly related to his views on human language." Furthermore, he draws from Bacon's views implications that run directly counter to the assumptions undergirding the emblematic world view: "If words have no hidden meanings, why should nature? If the language of man is arbitrary, can there be a language of nature at all? How can the Book of Nature shed light on God's plan, if the language of that book is devoid of meaning?" [11] These are important questions, not least for any attempt to situate Sir Isaac Newton's own reading of the Book of Nature. Unfortunately, Ashworth fails to follow his own lead. He fails, that is, to explore the relationship of his emblematic world view to the variety of ways—changing ways, I would add—that the Book of Nature was understood as a code or language in the early modern period. For Ashworth, Bacon simply comes too late, and his influence on the naturalists he highlights in his essay is nonexistent. As we shall see, however, there is more to the story of language, the Book of Nature, and the eclipse of the emblematic world view than Ashworth's narrow and negative focus on Bacon imagines.

Section 2. Beyond the Emblematic World View: Other Hermeneutical Practices and Symbolic Exegesis of the Book of Nature
How can we understand the eclipse of the emblematic world view? We need, first, to see emblematic natural history as part of a larger network of cultural beliefs, practices, and narratives. We must look beyond the emblematic world view to a set of related beliefs and practices in order to grasp their common underpinning and, hence, related fortunes.
Here, I would like to stress that the very resources that Ashworth identifies with emblematic natural history—hieroglyphics, mythography, emblems, and devices—are but contingent and highly specialized technologies for reading the Book of Nature and producing (its practitioners would say discovering) a kind of divinely-originating meaning. The assumptions that such meaning exists in the Book of Nature, that it is accessible to human beings, and that technologies for reading that Book and decoding such meanings are available for humans to employ are fundamental not only to Ashworth's emblematic natural history, but to a number of rather different, and at times ideologically opposed, hermeneutic strategies in Renaissance natural philosophy and medicine.
For example, the well known sixteenth-century academic physician, Jean Fernel, who authored comprehensive "textbooks" of virtually the whole of Galenic medicine, sought in his natural philosophical and medical works to uncover the divine, and divinely-originating meaning, in the Book of Nature. Fernel, trained at Paris, juxtaposed scholastic elements of analysis with an exegetical approach to texts and nature in his medical and philosophical works written while a professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Paris. Such textually-based exegesis, I have argued elsewhere, [12] prescribed a hermeneutics of scientific practice that focused upon the interpretation of language and texts as bearers of a lost, but recoverable, Adamic and divine understanding of nature and things. Exegesis as a technology for reading nature assumes that language itself—deriving ultimately from the most antique and "pure" of human languages—contains a kernel of pristine wisdom mirroring the divine knowledge that found concrete expression in the things contained in God's Book of Nature. Thus God's Word, unfolding as his myriad Works in that Book, ensures human access to the truths of nature through language and texts themselves.
Alternatively, the close connection between God's Word, the trope of language, and the Book of Nature found in the very notion of exegesis also led—by transference to "things" as the "pages" upon which God stamped his mysterious, veiled symbols (or "signatures") in creating His Book of Nature—to a related exegetical hermeneutics applied directly to that Book. Within this important Renaissance hermeneutics of nature, the analogical, symbolic universe of the middle ages was concretized. That is to say, the "abstract symbolism" of the middle ages was transformed into a concrete "symbolic literalism" in which material things themselves came to be seen as symbolic and as constituting an elaborate tropological network linked together by intersecting, metaphorically conceived, relationships in which the distinction between the "metaphorical" and the "literal" was continually effaced. [13] Such a hermeneutics of nature bears strong resemblances to what Foucault characterized as "similitude" and "resemblance." [14]
In Renaissance efforts to uncover the Truth contained in the Book of Nature, the relative emphasis placed upon language and texts as repositories for a "hidden" Adamic, divine "meaning" on the one hand, and, alternatively, upon the symbolic traces of the divine Word stamped upon things themselves, depended upon how individual natural philosophers, physicians, and their heterodox compatriots negotiated complex cultural narratives. Specifically, the actual deployment of linguistic (textual) exegetical strategies and symbolic exegetical strategies (and the relationship between them) depended upon how individual practitioners situated their attempts to read God's Book of Nature within larger, often recast, narratives of the Fall, the confusion of tongues, and the Pentecost.
Paracelsus may serve as an example. [15] Man, says Paracelsus, "received from God in Paradise the privilege of ruling over and dominating all other creatures, and not of obeying them." [16] Although relinquishing this "right" as a consequence of the Fall, [17] humans still retain freedom even in the face of an unruly nature. Paracelsus wishes to make something of this freedom, and to do so he must unveil both humankind's strengths and weaknesses. Postlapsarian, Christian "man's" assets and deficits may be reckoned by attending to Adam's prelapsarian powers and the legacy of the fall. Here Paracelsus invokes the ars signata as link between the paradisical and fallen Adam. This ars signata "teaches the true names to give to all things." [18] Underscoring its significance, Paracelsus tells us that:
Adam our first father had complete knowledge and perfect understanding of these names. For directly after the Creation he gave to all things their own proper and specific names. He gave to each of the animals,—and also to the trees, roots, stones, ores, metals, waters and to the fruits of the earth, water, air and fire—its own special name. And as Adam then christened them with their names, so was God pleased to ordain them. For their names were based upon real foundations, not upon their pleasant appearances, but rather upon a predestined art, namely the signatory art [ kunst signata ]. And for that reason, Adam was the first practitioner of this art of signs [ signator].[19]
Although Paracelsus attributes to Hebrew (obviously in light of the belief that Adam spoke that language in the Garden of Paradise) the ability to capture the nature of things through their Hebrew names, [20] that capacity of language does not concern him. Rather, what remains significant for Paracelsus is the conviction that Adam's ability to give all creatures their proper names was dependent upon our first parent's capacity to penetrate the mere appearances presented by natural things to uncover their real natures. Indeed, Paracelsian natural philosophy turns upon a vision of man, not as dwelling in the house of language, but as restless sojourner in the world of things. For postlapsarian man must become, like Adam, a signator: a practitioner of the ars signata , one who operates within and on Nature, fathoming signs and manipulating the hidden virtues of things.
This, Paracelsus hints, is what the wise man ( der weis man ) does. [21] His wisdom comes, not from his intellect, not from his ability to read texts like a slavish scholar, but from his ability to transform himself into a new Adam through his direct engagement with nature. The nature of that engagement ultimately depends upon Paracelsus's understanding of the relationship of the verbum Dei , the divine and creative Word, to the world and to man. That relationship is at the very heart of what Paracelsus calls the ars signata which turns upon the Paracelsian notion of signatura—the signatures of natural things.
Thus the Paracelsian account prompts us to ask how it is that Adam, as the first practitioner of this "art," can give things their real names. Let us examine the passage concerning Adam's naming of all creatures more closely. Our Paracelsian author states that Adam's naming reflects his "complete knowledge and perfect understanding." What is the source of this understanding? Here we encounter a knot in the Paracelsian narrative, for there seem to coexist two contesting themes. On the one hand, Adam appears to choose names freely, if aptly; on the other hand, the names themselves are grounded in what the story tells us is a "predestined art." This "knot" can, I believe, only be loosened, not untied. Indeed, the tension it embodies is, in my view, essential to the Paracelsians' vision of man in the created universe. While emphasizing the creatureliness of humans—their dependence upon God and, indeed, the fallen nature that clouds the unaided human intellect—Paracelsus and his followers for the most part draw back from reducing humans to a creature utterly devoid of the freedom to act, to control nature, and to influence its own destiny.
Adam—prelapsarian man—freely chooses the names that he gives to all creatures in the Garden of Eden. Yet, this freedom does not mean that the names they are given are in any sense arbitrary. Language, or at least the Adamic language, is not a product of use, a human social construct, in Paracelsus's view. Free from all sin, Adam's language bears a close relationship to the verbum Dei . God has not directly imposed this language upon Adam. Rather, God provides Adam with a tool that, given his pure and unfallen nature, he is then able to use correctly. This tool—the signatory art [ kunst signata ]—is not itself knowledge of the true names of things. Rather, its proper use requires that Adam turn directly to nature—to God's creatures—where he may then read those "signs" that mark each natural thing as a natural kind. That is to say, Adam's perfect understanding of the names of things depends upon his ability to grasp, through direct experience, signs that reveal to the able practitioner of the ars signata the innermost secrets, hidden properties, occult virtues, and hence true natures of things. By freely and accurately reading such signs, Adam exercises his privilege as unfallen imago dei and microcosm to rule over all other creatures. He also comes to enjoy knowledge of those very elements of things that are based, or patterned, upon the Divine plan or ideas that are the blueprint for all creatures. As a result, the names spoken by Adam—the Adamic language—is one that "pleases" God as the true, correct names that God then, in His power and freedom, ordains as such. The Adamic names thus bear a direct and univocal relationship to the Word of God.
Postlapsarian man has lost full knowledge of the signatory art that brought Adam perfect understanding of things. But, while his intelligence is clouded, man's freedom enables him to choose the path of wisdom or of bestiality. Choice of the former path leads humans to the ars signata and from thence to nature's secrets. How is this path opened to humans in Paracelsus's view?
Not through language. Not through mere textual exegesis and etymologies. Paracelsus will not abide humans playing cat and mouse with language and texts. The way to the Word, to the effects of the Divine Logos upon nature, is through nature itself. But humans—postlapsarian man—must approach nature properly, in the proper spirit. Man's freedom—limited though real—must seek the proper path and encounter nature piously and, hence, with the aid of God. For "Adam" represents not only humankind in paradise; rather "Adam," as Kurt Goldammer insists, "c'est l'homme au sens théologique, c'est-à-dire tout d'abord un etre perdu et reprouvé, un prisonnier du péché ."[22] This prisoner of sin nonetheless retains a certain liberty and can consequently avail himself of whatever help God provides him in his fallen state. And it is precisely the divinely-implanted light of nature ( lumen naturae ) that enables humans, Goldammer asserts, "à surmonter le status corruptionis ."[23]
But it is not such an easy task, this overcoming of man's fallen nature. [24] While the key may be the light of nature, access to that light requires preparation. Given that preparation, however, nature and its secrets lay open before all of mankind. Man must prepare himself for God's illumination in order that the light of nature may awaken his intellect to the correct interpretation of the signs God's created Nature has stamped upon things. Humans must learn, through the ars signata , those practices that allow them to be bathed in the radiance of the lumen naturale in his direct engagements with Nature. In short, humans must turn, with piety, toward nature to encounter in the concreteness of lived experience both the grace of divine insight and the light with which nature reveals its own innermost secrets. In his conceptions of man, nature, experience, and God's "signatures," Paracelsus points the way to a hermeneutics of nature that promises to complete the narrative of Adam: of the "old," once privileged and now fallen, Adam and the "new" regenerate Adam to come. [25]
Why, for Paracelsus, is it essential that man, this prisoner of sin, must turn to direct and concrete experience of nature? How can such experience open the human mind to the "light of nature?" The answer to these questions perhaps lies in what would have seemed a paradox to Paracelsus. For it was precisely what is most accessible, ready-at-hand, and visible that provides the key to unlocking the most intimate secrets of nature hidden to human reason. Aristotelians, Galenists, and other postlapsarian students of nature ignored what was under their very noses to pursue fictitious entities raised up by their clouded, but prideful, reason. While it is true for Paracelsus that the properties, powers or natures that give rise to the activity of things in nature are occult—hidden from our direct apprehension—, it is equally the case that Nature has left evident "traces" of such animating properties in the visible texture of things themselves. Thus, as Paracelsus was so fond of saying, "It is the exterior thing alone that gives knowledge of the interior; otherwise no inner thing could come to be known." [26] Postlapsarian man has ignored the external signs of the internal nature of things; by his failure to engage things directly, he has failed to penetrate the very secrets of nature. His failure, then, is at least in part a failure to learn how humans must read the visible book of nature placed before them by our Creator.
Paracelsus's "doctrine of signatures" is then both an account of the relations between the inner and outer aspects of concrete things in nature, and a hermeneutics that teaches fallen man how he is to read things, to read Nature itself. The themes of nature's signatures and of our dependence for knowledge of the hidden, inner nature of things upon external "signs" that signatures (re)present to man, pervade virtually all of Paracelsus's work. In different ways, he tells us that the understanding of signs is indispensible to the knowledge and manipulation of nature. "Nothing," he asserts, "exists without its signature." Indeed, there is nothing produced by nature that it has not marked by a sign of what is inside it. But such signatures have completely fallen out of use, forgotten entirely by fallen, error-ridden man. Hence it is imperative that "those who wish to depict natural things must grasp their signs and understand the same through their signatures." [27]
Paracelsus urges that humans become adept at reading signs. Nature imprints all things that it creates with an outward mark, a sign or signature. Each sign enables one who knows how to read them to know what it is that a given thing—a plant, an animal, a mineral, even the stars—contains within it. This "inner" thing controls, shapes, and activates that which we recognize by its external form and properties in nature. But it is the internal, occult, and secret properties of a thing that constitutes its very nature, that is the key to our understanding its "thingliness" as a creature of God, and that contains those very "virtues" that empower it to act according to its nature. Understanding of the latter—an understanding that may only be grasped experientially—enables man to tap into or extract the powers that lay hidden in nature and thence to control, transform, channel, and transmute them. Thus, Paracelsus envisions a society in which those who are privileged by their experience—by the expertise that grounds itself in intimate experience of nature—can use their expert knowledge to fathom the secrets of nature and use such hidden virtues to improve the lot of humans on earth. Thus, for example,
The expert practitioner of the art of signs [ signator] may recognize by means of the signature the virtue inhabiting each material being—that which is in herbs and in trees, in sensible and in insensible things. For consequently such expert signators discover a great many medicaments, remedies and other powers in natural things. And whosoever does not note the power and efficacy of a plant from its signature, that person does not comprehend what he writes. Indeed, he writes like a blind person who does not understand what he writes. [28]
Postlapsarian man, blinded by his fall and turned away from things to the contentious world of mere human words, does not comprehend what he writes and does not gain access to the hidden nature of things through his vain "sciences." The order prescribed by God in His creation does not permit such access except to those who practice a different "science"—one that relentlessly follows the tracks ordained by God in Nature that links the external signs of things back to their inner virtues and actions. [29] This new Paracelsian "science"—the true knowledge of natural things—reads in the visible signatures of things their origins and meaning in the invisible and spiritual nature of their inner constitution. [30]
Visible and invisible, material and spiritual, concrete signature and symbolic order of beings: all find themselves inextricably woven together in the texture of God's creation. God's authorship of the Book of Nature, like Christ's voice speaking of divine mysteries in the languages of man, animates the mere material traces of the letters He has stamped upon this world. In fact, the very light of nature that Paracelsus extolls throughout his works is but nothing, were it not for the fact that it came from God. God's Word is the source of our illumination through the light of nature, just as our very nourishment and life itself comes "not from the earth, but from God through His Word." [31] Where the blind Galenist or Aristotelian sees but mere accidents—a mere cloak of passive matter to be cast aside in the profound search for entia rationis —the divinely illumined Paracelsian sees living symbols of Nature's hidden truths. Thus Paracelsus rails against the mere "bookish" medical learning of a Galen, Avicenna, Mesue, or Rasis. The door they hold open to their so-called art of medicine leads to but a blind alley. Only nature itself offers humans true access to the secret healing powers in things. The true door opening upon the art of medicine is that produced by the "light of nature" alone. Against the false, prideful, and pagan, books of man, one must oppose the only true book: "that which God Himself has given, written, devised, and established." [32] It is to this book alone that man must turn if he is to uncover, through the light of nature, the occult properties and secret virtues deep within natural things. Those who ignore God's book, who foresake the lumen naturae , are condemned to wander in the world as if in a labyrinth without hope of escape. [33]
The example of Paracelsus attests to the powerful role played by the metaphor of the Book of Nature and its deployment through highly localized rereadings of traditional Judeo- Christian biblical narratives in emerging strategies for interpreting nature in the late Renaissance. Such rereadings authorized particular modes of human access to the "Word of God" contained in nature's text. [34] The priority given to texts in exegetical technologies championed by those like Fernel, though based upon common assumptions about the "Word of God" and the "Book of Nature," contrasted sharply with the exclusive priority given to experience in Paracelsus's symbolic technology for the exegesis of "things."
Emblematic natural history combines both technologies in so far as it weaves together the meanings encountered in texts (myths; emblematic sayings; etc.) with the experiential decoding of symbols embedded in natural things. Belief that "divine" meaning—a meaning that transcends phenomenal differences and exhibits their roots in the "complicated" unity of God's being and plan for the world—can be uncovered through language alone generally rests upon the special assumption that there is an intimate, if corrupted and occult, relationship between the languages of human textual traditions and an originary divine, "Adamic," language, the Word of God. Alternatively, belief in a divine meaning embedded in things themselves rests on the assumption that God's creative Word directly formed things and that, in so doing, the Word left traces, or signatures, on things that humans, properly aided and motivated, can learn to read as a symbolic language of nature.
Both these assumptions lead to strategies for reading the Book of Nature—at one extreme relying chiefly on texts; at the other, on "things" as bearers of symbolic meaning—, and both find their legitimation in the reworking of narratives regarding Adam, the Fall, the Tower of Babel and confusion of tongues, and, as we shall see later, the Pentecost, that authorized various relationships between the Word of God, the "languages of man," and the Book of Nature. Radically altered narratives and shifting interpretations of key biblical episodes—together with resulting shifts in fundamental assumptions about the relationships between the "Word of God," the "languages of man," and the "Book of Nature"—are then, fundamental to charting important changes in the technologies and strategies for reading nature in the Scientific Revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Section 3. The Eclipse of the Emblematic World View
Returning to Ashworth's emblematic world view, I would like to stress how the link between language theory and cultural narratives in the Renaissance provides a way of understanding its eclipse. [35] While it is quite likely that changed attitudes toward natural history and both botanical and zoological specimens were intimately related to transformations in the evaluation and interpretation of human artifacts, the grounds for such changes are not explored by Ashworth. Such radical revisioning of nature and history implied, and I would argue necessitated, radical recasting of fundamental narratives about Man, Nature, and language. Only within such a radically altered narrative frame could a discourse emerge that placed stress upon the critical differences distinguishing animals and plants, rather than on the correspondences and similitudes that bind them into an analogical and symbolic network. The latter network supposed a creation narrative in which God was the Judeo-Christian Logos whose Word gave visible expression to the archetypes or ideas of the divine mind. Nature was then the image of God and even a divine language that man must decipher. The question raised by the rise and fall of the emblematic world view recounted by Ashworth is, then, how did this story lose so much of its cultural force as authorizing narrative legitimating scientific practices?
Two developments contributed to this loss of narrative authority. First, the intimate and necessary connection between the Word of God and Nature came to be questioned and redefined. Second, language began to lose its status as originary source of knowledge through a gradual delegitimization of narratives that figured humans as privileged readers of the text of nature. As a result, the project of seeking knowledge of nature directly through deciphering the symbols imprinted upon things, or indirectly, through seeking the truth of things in language—that is, in etymology [36] or exegetical hermeneutics—lost its firm foundations.
In many ways the second development prefigured and prepared the way for the first, although it is not possible to insist upon any strict chronology. Not only did these developments overlap with one another, the very discourses and strategies authorized by conflicting cultural narratives survived and coexisted for much of the late sixteenth through at least the early eighteenth centuries. The point, however, is that Ashworth's account stops short of connecting the impact of the new "critical" antiquarianism with the groundwork prepared by both of these developments. Significantly, he does note that Francis Bacon's rejection of the emblematic world view and its approach to natural history was rooted in his firm denial that nature is in any way a mirror, image, or reflection of God, thus suggesting an important role for the first development mentioned above. [37] But Bacon's significance in the demise of the emblematic world view is not solidly connected by Ashworth to the role he claims for the new antiquarian spirit of criticism. And, more fundamently, the importance of Renaissance cultural narratives—and their gradual delegitimization—figuring man as enjoying privileged access to the "Word of God" through his Adamic inheritance (which allowed him to read the text of Nature) nowhere appears in Ashworth's account as a context integral to the emblematic world view and its decline.
In order to underscore the significance of this narrative context for an understanding of the hermeneutic strategies employed by natural history in this period, let me briefly turn to a text cited by Ashworth, Edward Topsell's The Historie of Fovre-Footed Beastes (1607). [38] For Ashworth, Topsell epitomizes the emblematic world view: "his 'Epistle Dedicatory' is a hymn to animals as symbolic images." [39] We should therefore find telling Topsell's preoccupation with the study of nature as integral to humanity's quest for salvation; a quest that, without the aid provided by the text of nature, may be doomed to failure by the curse of Babel.
As an Interpretor in a strange country is necessary for a traveller that is ignorant of Languages (or else he should perish,) so is knowledge and learning to us poore Pilgrims in this our Perigrination, out of Paradice, unto Paradice; whereby confused BABELS tongues are againe reduced to their significant Dialects, not in the builders of BABELL to further and finish an earthly Tower, but in the builders of IERVSALEM, to bring them all to their owne Countrey Which they seeke, and to the desired rest of soules. [40]
What is this knowledge and learning that serves as an interpreter, allowing us access to the language man needs in his journey away from his unfortunate fall out of a state of grace in the Garden of Paradise toward the Paradise of the soul's repose with God in heaven? Topsell would have us answer that it is knowledge and learning concerning the beasts that will reveal the one language that can guide us on our journey toward salvation. Indeed, Topsell's text insistently implicates and emplots human pursuit of natural knowledge within the grand narrative of possession of the Adamic language and its loss through Adam's tragic fall and the subsequent confusion at Babel.
Through his Fall and through Babel "man" has lost his way on his journey toward God and eternal salvation in Paradise. But, although he has lost the original Adamic language, postlapsarian and post-babylonic man is still heir to the Adamic legacy. That legacy—knowledge of the true names of all creatures and, hence, access to the creative "Word of God"—is his, if man will simply turn to the text of nature and read its divine message. Knowledge of that text—knowledge deepened by the etymological, mythological and emblematic learning of ancient and modern authors—serves as our interpreter on the journey to Paradise. [41] The knowledge once lost, is yet again available to man:
Their [i.e., the beasts] life and creation is Devine in respect of their maker, their naming divine, in respect that Adam out of the plenty of his own devine wisdome, gave them their several appellations, as it were out of a Fountaine of prophesie, foreshewing the nature of every kind in one elegant & significant denomination, which to the great losse of all his children was taken away, lost, & confounded at Babel. When I affirm that the knowledg of Beasts is Devine, I do meane no other thing then the right and perfect description of their names, figures, and natures, and this is in the Creator himself most Devine, & therefore such as is the fountain, such are the streams yssuing from the same into the minds of men. [42]
The "names, figures, and natures" of animals are in God Himself; from God as source, they may flow "into the minds of men." Thus, the possibility of recapturing Adam's lost knowledge of the creatures, of repairing the effects of Babel and reconstituting a language that mirrors nature perfectly--that, in effect, closes the gap between the languages of man and the Word of God—is alive and very much present for Topsell. That possibility can be enacted through study of the very beasts themselves, for Topsell is convinced that God saved all animals from the flood by placing them on Noah's ark precisely to enable man access to Divine knowledge and the saving wisdom that may come with it. "Surely," Topsell, speaking of the animals saved by Noah, proclaims, "it was for that a man might gaine out of them much devine knowledge, such as is imprinted in them by nature, as a tipe or spark of that great wisdome whereby they were created." [43]
God's very Word, his Scriptures, "compare the Divell to a Lyon;...false prophets to Wolves;...Heretickes and false Preachers to Scorpions...." Man needs the knowledge God has "imprinted in" animals if he is not only to uncover, but also comprehend, His saving Word. For it is "cleare that every beast is a natural vision, which we ought to see and understand, for the more cleare apprehension of the invisible Maiesty of God." Thus it is that Topsell counsels direct investigation of all animals found in the book of nature, and that he brings to this task "what the writers of all ages have herein observed" and recorded in stories, images and emblems. [44] God is author of the universe, and humanity's task is to learn to read the divine text of nature: "but this sheweth that Chronicle which was made by God himselfe, every living beast being a word, every kind being a sentence, and al of them together a large history, containing admirable knowledge & learning, which was, which is, which shall continue, (if not for ever) yet to the world's end." [45] Topsell returns, then, to man and language. For him, natural history is the divine text written in the language of creatures that contains that "knowledge & learning" that Adam and his offspring lost through the fall and curse of Babel. In the very making of Ashworth's "emblematic world view" we therefore find a re-making of the grand Renaissance cultural narrative of man's fall and redemption. Natural history, as both the tool and product of reading God's text, enables humans access to their lost Adamic heritage, and with it, access to the saving verbum Dei . Renaissance natural history, the emblematic world view, and much of what I have elsewhere called the hermeneutics of symbolic exegesis have been emplotted in this story of man's fall and salvation. [46] The natural history of Gesner, Aldrovandi, Topsell and others is therefore part of that Renaissance quest for the wisdom of the Adamic language lost in the Babylonic confusion.
Let us now turn for examples of natural history to Paula Findlen's recent work, where we shall also find clues for understanding the eventual delegitimation of emblematic natural history. Ultimately, this concern will bring us back to consideration of changes in Renaissance language theory—particularly changes in those very cultural narratives that shaped attitudes toward language—and in the scholarly study of languages that were a crucial development in the decline of the emblematic world view and, more broadly, of symbolic exegesis.
Findlen's concern has been with natural curiosities that Renaissance naturalists and collectors increasingly viewed as "jokes of nature": lusus naturae . Her achievement has been to bring what appears to the modern as patently marginal to the forefront of the cultural and social system of early-modern science, particularly natural history. Jokes of nature—for example, nature's replication of natural forms, such as clouds, mountains, or faces, upon stones; shells in the shape of ears; the transformation of coral from a plant-like to a stone-like substance; fossils; or, flowers that assume the shapes of other natural creatures—are no mere oddities, nor simply the abberant imaginings of otherwise rational, even systematic, students of nature. Rather, they display fundamental assumptions about both nature and the practice of late Renaissance natural history.
Nature is fundamentally playful and creative; it is, in short, poetic. As poetic, nature displays all the imaginative and creative powers associated with fiction. Nature can mimic; it can take natural forms and make them metamorphose into other shapes; it is inherently active, transformative, plastic. Because, at times, of "her" willful disposition, nature's playfulness may seem to subvert the very categories and kinds into which creatures are ordered. This aspect of the lusus naturae marks something of the independence of nature from the usually stable order of God's creation. Nature, through creative powers instilled in her, spills over with variety and invention and threatens to disrupt the very order of things. Yet, her playfulness also exhibits the workings of patterns, of archetypes in nature. Stones and plants mimic the forms of animals and humans; menstrual blood undergoes metamorphosis into toads. Such transformations and mirroring, then, display the analogical, metaphorical, and hierarchical structure of the divine system of nature. Its very playfulness was authorized by the way in which nature, as a divine language of things, was constituted by the replication of divine archetypes, vertically within different strata, and horizontally among its different "kingdoms and worlds." [47] Hence, the decline of nature's playfulness, as with the decline of the emblematic world view, stemmed from the delegitimization of this archetypal, symbolic vision of nature as divine language.
Within such a view, variety may be rampant. Yet, the overarching system of correspondences and analogies provide a way of recuperating variety and difference, of transforming them into so many instances of a unified language of things. The very image of God as creator unfolding and "explicating" the unity of His Being into the multiplicity of material things carries with it the complementary image of movement back toward unity. Unity becomes then the very ground for the possibility of diversity; and diversity—the multiplication, even the playfulness, of natural forms—becomes the occasion for the quest for an originative unity.
It is precisely the coincidence of this double movement, from unity to diversity and back again to unity, that the cultural narratives authorizing Renaissance language theory and legitimating the hermeneutics of symbolic exegesis in the study of nature enforce in their own domains and reinforce among each other. Consequently, we should view with great interest those movements across the grain of unity-in-diversity that erupt at the margins of Renaissance linguistics and language theory and that begin to complicate the story of language, both manifesting and instigating revision of the narrative of man's Adamic legacy.
Jean Céard enables us to see just such roots of change in sixteenth-century transformations of the story of Babel and the Pentecost. Céard, well known as a student of sixteenth-century natural sciences, [48] expresses fascination with contesting tendencies in Renaissance engagements with language and its status. Transfixed by the epic quest for the original Adamic language, the Renaissance nonetheless finds itself drawn to the sheer diversity of languages. [49] The story he relates illustrates how a guiding assumption such as that of an originary language can foster inquiry that, in turn, transforms the very terms in which language, and the ideal of an original and universal language, are understood. [50]
Céard recounts the Renaissance confrontation with the legacy of Babel and consequent search for a perfect, universal, Adamic tongue. He discloses the grounds of sixteenth-century obsessions with Hebrew, with etymologies, and with the lure that cabalistic attention to the form itself of letters, words, language exercised over the imaginations of contemporary scholars. [51] Yet, even this obsession constantly stumbled upon the effects of diversity within language, the inevitable presence of a multiplicity that contrasted with desired unity.
The question was, what to do about this variety within, and of, language? The recuperative power of Renaissance discourses are much in evidence in the challenge posed by the obvious variety of the languages of man. Every tendency exerted its force to find order, and therefore traces of a deeper unity, in the systematic study of language. Céard testifies to the imposition of the mental grid of Renaissance naturalists—also students of diversity—upon linguistics in the sixteenth century. [52] In particular Céard cites, as an almost archetypal example of this recuperation of variety to a hermeneutics that enforced unity as the ground of all interpretation, the great sixteenth-century naturalist and embodiment of the "emblematic world view," Conrad Gesner. Both a natural historian of the first rank and early student of comparative linguistics, Gesner was author of Mithridates, significantly subtitled, De differentiis linguarum , and the monumental Historica animalium also of 1555. [53] According to Céard, "dans les deux livres, Gesner met en oeuvre la meme conception de l'ordre et de la varieté." [54]
Linguistic diversity was, of course, a legacy of Babel. As such, one might dismiss the sheer variety of vernacular tongues as merely exhibiting the decadence and degeneration from an ideal language implicit in the notion of an historic confusion at Babel. Hence, one response to this linguistic variety might well be to deem its study ignoble. For Gesner, Céard notes, this conclusion fit the case of "barbaric" tongues, particularly Hungarian, which had nothing in common with languages that enjoyed a more noble pedigree. Just as Gesner the naturalist lavished scrupulous attention upon the viviparous quadrupedes whose affinities to man lent them a certain dignity, Gesner the linguist evinced preference for those vernaculars, and ancient tongues, dignified by relationship to the sacred languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, "celles dans lesquelles s'exprime le verbe de Dieu." [55] For Gesner, barbaric languages like Hungarian, occupy the same ignoble place among languages in general as the lowly insects do among living things. [56]
Thus, while Gesner encouraged some attention to the variety of linguistic phenomena, his strongly hierarchical understanding of languages—flowing from his implicit adoption of a reading of the Babel narrative as suggesting decadence and degeneration from an ideal—placed limits upon the significance of such diversity. Other readings that looked to Babel as the origin of "linguarum varietas" were perhaps more receptive to details of such variation and their intrinsic significance. [57] Thus, for some the very diversity of languages might mask a deeper, hidden harmony. [58] As Claude Duret, author of massive tomes on language and on natural history, [59] revealed according to Cèard:
Il y a "cinq differentes sortes d'escrire": les Asiatiques et les Africains écrivent de droite à gauche; les Européens, de gauche à droite; les Indiens, Chinois et Japonais, de haut en bas; les Mexicains, de bas en haut et, dans certains cas, en spirale. Il en conclut qu'ainsi sont exprimés "les secretz et mysteres de la croisee du Monde, et de la forme de la Croix, ensemble de la rotondité du Ciel et de la terre." [60]
Here we see the continuation of that impulse Céard noted earlier: the tendency promoted by belief in an original, Adamic language to embrace linguistic variety. In Duret's case, such variety leads back to a more fundamental, if sometimes occult, unity. But, as Céard strikingly contends, that willingness to embrace linguistic diversity authorized by the myth of Babel's originary view of language also led to radical revaluation of the relationship between linguistic variety and universality in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. If the encounter with variety prompted this revaluation, what extended and authorized it was another myth, another re-reading of Renaissance cultural narratives that gave prominence to the Pentecost as privileged, Christian context for repairing the effects of Babel.
First, linguistic variety was no longer simply a divine punishment and hindrance to man's reformation. Linguistic variety was, instead, a fact of human existence, and one within which humans learned to operate and to communicate. Céard presents a catalogue of opinions, each illustrating ways in which Renaissance thinkers came to domesticate linguistic diversity and to see in such variety opportunities for enobling "man's" status. Thus, for example, the Renaissance came to admire the polyglot, the person who forged bonds of universality, if not unity, with others through an appropriation of diverse tongues. Languages became a vehicle not only for communication, but also for acquiring the totality of human heritages—learning and wisdom. [61]
The surgeon Paré testifies to certain changes regarding language as well. While animals enjoy the ability to understand every individual member of their own species, man, according to Paré, displays his superiority to animals in his "dexterité d'apprendre toutes langues." [62] Céard sees in such views the beginnings of a new attitude toward language and the curse of Babel inflicted upon man: "Par cette 'dexterité' universelle, il échappe à la punition de Babel: l'unité perdue, il la reconstitue dans l'universalité." [63] Clearly, this step in itself does not constitute the end of the emblematic world view. Paré did not abandon a vision of nature as expression of the divine Word accessible to man. His approach to nature remains wedded to analogy and the semiotics of resemblance and a symbolic order.
But such revaluations of linguistic diversity did open a discursive space for the articulation and transformation of powerful Renaissance cultural narratives. And such transformations could have the effect of delegitimizing the very narrative and discursive foundations underwriting the hermeneutics of symbolic exegesis, including the emblematic world view. It is this aspect of Céard's examination of language and the myths of Babel and the Pentecost that are of such importance to our own story. His point is decisive for the historical changes we have been considering:
Le mythe d'une langue unique et universelle cède la place à un autre mythe: celui d'une aptitude à parler toutes les langues du monde, à disposer de toutes les richesses du verbe. La langue universelle, c'est le 'thresor' de toutes les langues de cet univers. Dans cette abondance se refait la langue parfaite des origines. [64]
Even here, however, we must resist the temptation to proclaim a rupture in history. What we have is no more than an alternative articulation, a recast narrative whose terms are so familiar that they are always in danger of being reappropriated to a familiar discourse, reinscribed within the very narrative it attempts to discard. The alternative myth of speaking all tongues, does lead to an embrace of diversity and variety unparalleled in the more traditional quest for the traces of the lost, Adamic language. And yet that "new" myth remains haunted by the shadowy presence of a perfect originative language.
What Céard has exposed in sixteenth-century thought is not so much a rupture within discourse as its tensions and opposing valences. That does not mean that nothing has changed. Quite to the contrary, the exposure and articulation of these tensions only serve to heighten new possibilities for language theory and for the hermeneutics of nature. My point is simply that these new possibilities did not vanquish the old; rather they existed side by side, even indeed within the same text and discourse. This state of affairs was in fact productive of a veritable explosion of interest in the diversity and variety of nature. On the one hand, a Gesner could appreciate the diversity of languages and the variety of natural forms as worthy of scholarly and scientific investigation. Nature could be laid bare as a text upon which God had imprinted a rich array of forms, a veritable profusion of natural dialects of the unifying and creative Word of God. For Gesner, such diversity was contained within the larger frame of belief in a single, originary divine language of man and creation. Gesner's language theory and his practice as natural historian fit within the mainstream of the emblematic world view. His world, and that of his standard-bearers like Aldrovandi, was one that awaited symbolic exegesis.
On the other hand, one could also find in a Guillaume Rondelet a fascination with the variety of natural forms that resisted reinscription in the cultural text of a quest for an originative unity—a unity, not just of the specific forms themselves and the orders to which they belonged, but of the similitude of all forms that constitute the originative divine language of creation. It is precisely this symbolic, emblematic quality to the natural order, and to natural history, that Rondelet resists, and that has set him apart—along with the likes of Belon—among Renaissance naturalists in standard histories of the subject. Indeed, Ashworth's historiographic plea for the centrality of his emblematic world view constitutes a reaction to what he sees as the anachronism of elevating the spare, descriptive natural history of a Rondelet to the standard against which Renaissance texts must be judged. [65] Rondelet should not, in fact, become such a standard. Nonetheless, the very century that produced a Gesner and an Aldrovandi also produced a Rondelet. They must, I think, be seen as emerging from the very possibilities for alternative discursive solutions to the problem of variety and unity that Céard's treatment of the myths of Babel and the Pentecost allow us to see in Renaissance language theory and natural history. Finally, we may regard a Paré as exhibiting a tolerance for linguistic diversity that finds itself easily recuperated by the belief in an originary verbum Dei authorizing a basically analogical, metaphorical, and hierarchical understanding of nature.
What Céard has uncovered is that opening up of a discursive space in the Renaissance that would, in time, widen into something like a chasm. That space allows for the articulation of a new linguistic ideal authorized by a subtlely recast narrative of cultural origins that never quite breaks with past, and one might even say dominating, narratives. The ideal is that of a universal language. The ideal itself is but a trope: a projective desire for a whole that will bind together the many fragmented parts constituting the languages of man. In this sense then, this new ideal generates itself out of a trope that it shares with its rival. But this new ideal threatens to destablize discourse by reemploting that trope in a narrative that alters its fundamental meaning. For the trope of a universal language now looks, not to the past, to the unity of Adamic innocence and perfection for its authorization and its model, but instead to the future. The metaphoricity of the Adamic language now becomes transformed into the synecdoche of an ideal universal language. The universal language is not something that has been, but rather an ideal to be created by humans out of the multiplicity of linguistic phenomena constituting the very languages of man. [66]
By the late sixteenth century, then, one can find the cultural narrative within which theories of language are emplotted broadened and diversified to allow for new possibilities in the understanding of the relationship between the Word of God and the languages of man. The story of the confusion of tongues at Babel may now be read through "le miracle de la Pentecôte." [67] The languages of man thereby gain the possibility of a new relationship to the verbum Dei : the very diversity that was once a sign of their corrupt, fallen status—a status to be overcome through supression of their individuality and alterity—now becomes the very material out of which a rich and proper universal language of things may be forged anew.
But the prospect of such a universal language, as we have noted above, was not easily disengaged from the old ideal of an originative unity. Only a distant hope, this new ideal did help to open up the very scope of natural history and the investigation of natural phenomena. By allowing that the perfection and universality of truth—of true knowledge of nature—was not to be rediscovered through exegesis of texts and the book of nature, but rather was something to be made by mankind through our efforts and work, this new ideal—however tentatively and partially articulated—looked toward a new hermeneutics of nature. Just as the miracle of the Pentecost embraced the diversity of tongues and of mankind in an image of God's Apostles engaged in the work of creating a new Christian unity, those pious disciples of the Lord who choose to work upon God's Book of Nature can create a new order by de-in-scribing God's plan within the variety of his earthly creatures. This new Pentecostal narrative of man's fall and redemption hence pointed toward emphases upon human industry and the observation of nature in all its diversity—and away from a symbolic ordering of nature—that was to become a hallmark of the new science of Bacon, Galileo, Mersenne, Descartes, and Boyle.
Returning for a moment to Ashworth, the parallelism and, indeed, the intimate relationship between language theory and natural history, together with their mutual legitimation through the work done in recasting cultural narratives, must not be forgotten in attempts to explain shifting models for the practice of natural history. For, as in the case of the encyclopedic and comparative study of language in the sixteenth century, the sheer diversity of natural things that the discourse of encyclopedic, emblematic natural history uncovered (including the flora and fauna of the new world) tended to overwhelm and undermine the discourse of resemblance, correspondence, and symbolism and its underlying ideal of an originative unity. And yet, as was also the case in the study of language, this sheer diversity—the sheer weight of things and facts—was not of itself enough to transform the discourse of natural history. Instead, diversity in language as well as in nature had first to be reinscribed within transformed narratives. Only such new, legitimating narratives could work to delegitimize the relationship between the verbum Dei and nature that authorized the ideal and discourse of originative unity. By recasting stories of Babel and the Pentecost, "man" was now authorised to study diversity—both in language and in nature—within the context of a new relationship between the languages of man and the Word of God.

Section 4. From Paracelsus to Newton: The Word of God and the Book of Nature "Beyond" the Emblematic World View
How do we get from Paracelsus to Newton? If we read Ashworth's account of the "demise" of the emblematic world view with this question in mind, we may be left with a number of impressions. We may surmise that the sheer weight of "new" and previously unknown things, and the lack of ready-made symbolic associations, led, by the mid-seventeenth century, to the utter devaluation of symbols generally and, more specifically, of the bookish search for knowledge pertinent to nature in the textual traditions of ancient biblical and pagan cultures. I have myself called attention to the fact that attacks by proponents of the "new science" such as Galileo, Bacon, and Sprat on "the uses of metaphor and fables in the study of nature implied that, unlike their opponents, they did not surround their descriptions of things with ever-expanding webs of meaning fashioned from words, myth, poetry, and symbols" and that "this distinction is in one sense true." [68] In another sense, however, this "fact" is too simple and contributes to the marginalization of Newton's "esoteric" interests (and their divorce from his "real science") in the heroic narrative of modern science.
This heroic narrative can be reinforced, unwittingly, by Ashworth's account of the demise of the emblematic world view, since it implies a nearly frictionless—virtually "natural"—transition to things that stand by, and for, themselves and that demand only to be described. Coming after the great divide—"beyond" the emblematic world view—, Newton's return to symbols (in some sense) and to ancient biblical and pagan texts fails to do what should now come "naturally." Is Newton simply unique, or even anachronistic?
The sense of anachronism diminishes, I think, once we view the "demise" of the emblematic world view as, instead, an "eclipse," and locate the transition not simply as one from "text to things" or from "nature emblematized to nature laid bare" (as its polemicists would have us think), but as the product of an essentially narrative reconfiguration of early modern European culture itself. Here, the work of narrative reconfiguration is fundamentally religious in content and purpose. Reconfiguring narrative relationships among the "Word of God," the "languages of Man," and the "Book of Nature" through reinterpreting key biblical stories allowed European culture to reposition and rebuild itself in the wake of confessional and sectarian divisiveness, reassertions of human frailty and Divine omnipotence, and, yes, the growing sense of the diversity of things and peoples.
Viewed in this way, the eclipse of the emblematic world view need not be seen as an intrinsic part of a larger—and later—Enlightenment project of "reason" and "emancipation." Rather, we can regard it as yet another transformation of Western "bookish culture"; a transformation, that is, of the culture of the "Word." Narratively reconfigured, the "World" no longer "reflects" the divine Word as a mimetic image. It is now a contingent expression of an all-powerful Word, reflecting the Word's power, majesty, and providence, but not constrained to reflect its (incomprehensible) essence.
This account allows for the complexly negotiated relationships between "science" and religion that we find emerging in the latter half of the seventeenth century among figures like Boyle and Newton. Boyle's intense interest both in a descriptive, experimental "new" philosophy stripped bare of emblematic associations and in biblical language and the excellency of theology, manifest continued preoccupation with narratives of the "Word of God," the "languages of Man," and the "Book of Nature" that I have argued are essential to the eclipse of the emblematic world view. [69]
Newton, too, exhibits unending concern with the "Word" and the "Book of Nature," and, indeed, preoccupied himself with the work of reexamining the chronology and meaning of biblical and grand cultural narratives throughout his lifetime. As James Force, Kenneth Knoespel, Richard Popkin, and many of the scholars contributing to this volume have stressed in their own investigations, [70] Newton's voluminous unpublished works on the scriptures are not isolated preoccupations, but are, rather, deeply connected to his reading of the Book of Nature "as scientist." I would add, neither are they anachronistic, for they represent fresh attempts to situate and legitimate human inquiry into the Book of Nature: in a sense, they follow in the tradition of rereadings of narratives that provoked the eclipse of the emblematic world view.
While Newton's world is a world "beyond" the emblematic world view, it is nonetheless a world of symbols, biblical narratives, and prophecy. Just as Newton sought "Rules for interpreting ye words and language of Scripture" [71] and, as Sarah Hutton says, always leaned "towards the literal," [72] so, too, Newton departs from the emblematic world view in so far as he both sought symbols in nature as keys to the divine order and unity of nature and yet neither conceived such symbols as identifying God with his creation, nor as constraining God's freedom and power. For Newton symbols and the emblematic could themselves become occasions for mistakenly introducing idolatrous ideas that corrupted the meaning of the scriptures and undermined the truth of God's omnipotence and the utter contingency of his creation. Thus, he was committed both to reading scriptures and nature in a way that revealed their divine truth and meaning, while avoiding and denying these theological errors.
James Force has noted how Newton links the origins of "idolatrous gentile theology" with misappropriation of biblical figures like Noah and his sons (linking them with the planets) and with "encoding these esoteric doctrines in hieroglyphic symbols." Furthermore, "with the Egyptian conquest of her neighbors, including the Jews, these new idolatrous hieroglyphic symbols were taken as the cause of the polytheistic worship of the gods." Quoting a long passage from Newton's Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended , Force shows Newton connecting this ancient polytheism with (in Newton's words) "this emblematical way of writing." [73]
I do not presume that Newton uses the term "emblematical" in the same sense we attach to Ashworth's "emblematic world view." Yet it may be useful to note that Newton, on the other side of the great divide separating emblematic natural history from modern science, assumes a certain vigilance with respect to the presence and operation of symbols in cultural narratives and in nature. In pointing to the close association between "this emblematical way of writing" and the error of polytheism, Newton wants to guard against any diminution of God's unique status. Similarly, the presence of symbols in nature can be misconstrued as necessitating essential links between natural things and God, thus limiting both God's freedom and power. As I have discussed elsewhere, under the influence of a radical Calvinist reading of signs in nature, what was once proclaimed by Paracelsus as a necessary congruence between the outer signature of a natural thing and its innermost essence came, in the seventeenth century, to be read by some of his protestant followers as a merely contingent and arbitrary link utterly dependent upon the will of God. Knowledge of such links, in turn, were themselves contingent upon God's grace. [74] Taken a step further, not only does the merely carnal and external sign stamped by God on things become arbitrary, the very order and nature of physical things and systems themselves become merely contingent expressions of God's will rather than mirrors of His eternal and unchanging nature. "Newton," as James Force says, "...urges instead a cautious empiricism through which he recognizes the power of God to effect changes even in created natural law" (p. 63).
Although Newton has crossed the great divide separating emblematic natural history from modern science, his is still a culture of the Book. For, while Newton rejects the particular forms of "bookish culture" associated with earlier interpretive strategies for reading the text of Nature as symbolic and emblematic, his own work and practices remain embedded in the metaphoric contexts of the "Book of Nature" and the "Word of God." Unlike historiographical positions that assume a radical cultural disjunction between the new philosophy and premodern natural philosophy, it may be useful to think of Newton as recreating inherited metaphoric contexts, rather than simply rejecting them. Newton is neither Renaissance symbolic hermeneut, nor secular Enlightenment philosophe, although he is undoubtedly closer to the former than the latter.
Thus, Newton's fundamental assumption—the assumption of "true knowledge" as a "knowledge of God" and therefore of the "unity of truth"—must be understood in the context of his own reworking of the traditional tropes of the "Book of Nature" and the "Word of God." Within this Newtonian context, truth itself is reconfigured not as an occultly interconnected symbolic order of nature necessarily reflecting the essence and order of the divine Mens, but rather as the divinely established, if contingent, order of things and of history. These orders surely bespeak for Newton God's majesty, power, and other attributes, although they remain products of His will and therefore manifestations of His activity in the world. The truth that humans must work to uncover, then, is precisely the evidence of God's activity. Such truth was, for Newton, "one," as Dobbs suggested, but the assumption of the "unity of truth" differers markedly from that found in the emblematic world view and related technologies for reading the Book of Nature. The unity that Newton seeks is not that of an architectonic symbolic order based upon essentialized analogical, or metaphorical, links among things and their deeper meanings. Newton, as we've seen, seeks to go beyond the corruptions of mere man-made symbols and idolatrous, "emblematic" ways of writing. Rather, by enjoining humans to uncover evidence of God's activity in the world, Newton refigures "unity" as the unity of various parts making up the larger whole of God's two Books, of the universe as a whole. Yet, as Robert Markley has argued, Newton remains profoundly skeptical of traditional readings of these two books, precisely because of the corruptions and distortions introduced by human interpreters and transmitters of biblical and natural knowledge. [75] This narrative refiguring of the "Word" and the "Book of Nature" leads Newton to envision a difficult, incomplete, and perhaps unending task of interpretation that may best be considered an inevitable consequence of "man's" Fall. While enjoined to work—through the laborious processes of induction and of textual-historical criticism—, humans necessarily encounter the opacity of God's Word and World since they are mediated through the incomplete and, at times, distorting lenses of human languages and traditions. [76]
Betty Jo Dobbs understood this well. Let me then end, in Newtonian fashion, not with a definitive conclusion, but by a return to our beginning point, by implication an invitation to a new beginning. Dobbs has written of Newton's view that
Human beings had once known how to worship God properly, and had understood the true religion. But humanity had slipped into idolatry...and the knowledge of true religion had been corrupted or lost. However, true religion might be restored. One comes finally to that powerful fountain of motivation that kept Newton at his furnace year after year...—at the knowledge of God's activity in the world.
...His actions are His glory.... His actions, the "issues" of His will , are indeed
the only glory by which God manifests Himself to His creatures, and which His creatures are able to behold in Him, the reason why His creatures worship Him, and the life and soul of all worship we can give Him....
The worship of God for His activity in the world—in creating it, preserving it, and governing it according to His will—that is the true religion. That is what Isaac Newton intended to restore through his study of God's activity in cosmology, alchemy, and history. [77]
Understanding Newton's use of symbols, beyond the emblematic world view, must begin with thorough appreciation of this narratively refigured Newtonian context.


1 Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs, The Janus Face of Genius: The Role of Alchemy in Newton's Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 5-6.
[2] William B. Ashworth, Jr., "Natural History and the Emblematic World View," in David C. Lindberg and Robert S. Westman, eds., Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 303-32.
[3] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," p. 305.
[4] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," pp. 317-8. Joannes Jonston, Historia Naturalis , 6 vols. (Frankfurt, 1650-1653.)
[5] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," p. 318.
[6] See Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982); and Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993.)
[7] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," pp. 319-22.
[8] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," p. 321.
[9] Ibid. On early-modern museums, collecting, natural history and scientific culture, see Bruce T. Moran, ed., Patronage and Institutions: Science, Technology, and Medicine at the European Court, 1500-1750 (Rochester: The Boydell Press, 1991), especially Paula Findlen, "The Economy of Scientific Exchange in Early Modern Italy," pp. 5-24; Paula Findlen, "The Museum: Its Classical Etymology and Renaissance Genealogy," Journal of the History of Collections 1 (1989), pp. 59-78; Paula Findlen, "Museums, Collecting and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy," Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1989; Oliver Impey and Arthur MacGregor, eds., The Origins of Museums: The Cabinet of Curiosities in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Europe (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985); and Adalgisa Lugli, Naturalia et mirablia. Il collezionsimo enciclopedico nelle Wunderkammern d'Europa (Milan, 1983.)
[10] See John Francis Eros, "Diachronic Linguistics in Seventeenth-Century England, with Special Attention to the Theories of Meric Casaubon," Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1972.
[11] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," p. 323.
[12] On Fernel, see James J. Bono, "Reform and the Languages of Renaissance Theoretical Medicine: Harvey versus Fernel," Journal of the History of Biology 23 (1990), pp. 341-87; and Bono, The Word of God and the Languages of Man: Interpreting Nature in Early Modern Science and Medicine , vol. 1, Ficino to Descartes (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), Chap. 4.
[13] I have discussed "abstract symbolism" and "symbolic literalism" in James J. Bono, "Medical Spirits and the Medieval Language of Life," Traditio 40 (1984), pp. 91-130, esp. pp. 100-101. This distinction is applied to the metaphorical discourse of Renaissance medicine and its tendency toward slippage from the metaphorical to the literal in Bono, "Harvey versus Fernel," and The Word of God , Chap. 4.
[14] Michel Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Vintage, 1973.) For criticism of Foucault's view of the Renaissance, see George Huppert, "'Divinatio et Eruditio': Thoughts on Foucault," History and Theory 13 (1974), pp. 191-207. See also Wolfgang Harms, "On Natural History and Emblematics in the Sixteenth Century," in Allan Ellenius, ed. The Natural Sciences and the Arts , Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Figura Nova, vol. 22 (Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1985), pp. 67-83; and Harms, "Bedeutung als Teil der Sache in zoologischen Standardwerken der frühen Neuzeit (Konrad Gesner, Ulisse Aldrovandi)," in Lebenslehren und Weltenwürfe in Übergang von Mittelalter zur Neuzeit (Gottengen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1989), pp. 352-69.
[15] The following discussion of Paracelsus is from Bono The Word of God , pp. 130-7, where original texts and references are cited in full.
[16] Paracelsus, Die 9 Bucher De Natura Rerum [1537] , in Samtliche Werke , vol. 11, ed. Karl Sudhoff (Munich; Berlin: R. Oldenbourg, 1928), p. 378. The translation is from Paracelsus, The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim, Called Paracelsus the Great , ed. Arthur Edward Waite, 2 vols. (Boulder: Shambhala, 1976), 1:174. Where necessary, I have modified this English version with my own translation from the original German found in Sudhoff's text.
[17] Paracelsus, De natura rerum , p. 378.
[18] Paracelsus, De natura rerum , p. 397: "die kunst signata leret die rechten namen geben allen dingen." Hermetic and Alchemical Writings , p. 188.
[19] Ibid. I have substantially modified the English version provided in Waite's edition.
[20] Paracelsus, De natura rerum , pp. 397-8.
[21] Paracelsus, De natura rerum , p. 378. Paracelsus contrasts the wise man to the bestial man ( einen viehischen menschen. ) One rules the stars, the other is ruled by them. Implicit in this passage is the notion that postlapsarian man, even though he has lost Adam's free, easy, and immediate dominion over nature, nonetheless may win back some measure of his lost control. To do so, he must revive and master the Adamic kunst signata .
[22] Kurt Goldammer, "La conception paracelsienne de l'homme entre la tradition théologique, la mythologie et la science de la nature," in Sciences de la renaissance, viiie Congrès International de Tours (Paris: Vrin, 1973), p. 248.
[23] Ibid.
[24] Goldammer, "La conception paracelsienne," provides a complex understanding of Paracelsus's divided and tension-filled view of man, at once limited and filled with possibilities. See especially, pp. 248-51 and 258.
[25] On the new Adam, Christ, God's Word, and the light of nature, see Paracelsus's Astronomia Magna , oder die ganze Philosophia Sagax der grossen und kleinen Welt [1537-38] , in Samtliche Werke , vol. 12, ed. Karl Sudhoff (Munich; Berlin: R. Oldenbourg, 1929), p. 398. On Paracelsus and theology also see Hartmut Rudolph, "Kosmosspekulation und Trinitätslehre, Weltbild und Theologie bei Paracelsus," in Paracelsus in der Tradition , in Salzb. Beitr. Paracelsus- Forschung , ed. S. Domandl, 21 (1980), pp. 32-47; and Hartmut Rudolph, "Einige Gesichtspunkte zum Thema 'Paracelsus und Luther'," Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 72 (1981), pp. 34-54.
[26] Paracelsus, Paragranum [1529-1530] , in Samtliche Werke , vol. 8, ed. Karl Sudhoff (Munchen: Otto Wilhelm Barth, 1924), p. 97: "Allein die eussern ding geben die erkantnus des inneren, sonst mag kein inner ding erkant werden."
[27] Paracelsus, Von Den Naturlichen Dingen [1525?] , in Samtliche Werke , vol. 2, ed. Karl Sudhoff (Munich; Berlin: R. Oldenbourg, 1930), p. 86.
[28] Paracelsus, Astronomia Magna, p. 173.
[29] See Massimo Luigi Bianchi, Signatura rerum. Segni, Magia e Conoscenza Da Paracelso a Leibniz (Rome: Edizioni dell'Ateneo, 1987), p. 62.
[30] Paracelsus, Astronomia magna , p. 177.
[31] Paracelsus, Astronomia magna , p. 396: "Also ist die speis und das leben nicht von der erden, sondern von got durch sein wort;" and, p. 397, "So das ist, so ist das natürliche liecht nichts, sondern es muss aus got gehen, dan so ist es genug."
[32] Paracelsus, Labyrinthus medicorum errantium [1537-38] , in Samtliche Werke , vol. 11, ed. Karl Sudhoff (Munich; Berlin: R. Oldenbourg, 1928), p. 169.
[33] Paracelsus, Labyrinthus medicorum , p. 170: "Was concordirt in das liecht der natur, das bestet und hat kraft. was aber in das nit concordirt, das ist ein labyrinthus der kein gewissen eingang noch ausgang hat."
[34] For details see Bono The Word of God , especially Chap. 3.
[35] The following discussion is from Bono, The Word of God , pp. 179-92.
[36] As Marian Rothstein reminds us, "the very word 'etymology'[is]...from etumos; true,real...," "Etymology, Genealogy, and the Immutability of Origins," Renaissance Quarterly 43 (1990), p. 332.
[37] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," pp. 322-3.
[38] Edward Topsell, A Historie of Four-footed Beastes (London, 1607.)
[39] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," p. 316.
[40] Topsell, "Beastes," sig. A3.
[41] Thus, note Topsell's insistent tone in setting forth, near the end of his "Epistle Dedicatory," the claims of the Book of Nature for bringing the counsel of God to his people: "For how shall we be able to speake the whole Counsell of God unto his people, if we read unto them but one of his bookes, when he hath another in the worlde, which wee never study past the title or outside; although the great God have made them an Epistle Dedicatory to the whole race of mankind," no pagination.
[42] Topsell, Beastes, in "The Epistle Dedicatory," no pagination.
[43] Topsell, Beastes, in "The Epistle Dedicatory," no pagination.
[44] Topsell, Beastes, in "The Epistle Dedicatory," no pagination.
[45] Topsell, Beastes, in "The Epistle Dedicatory," no pagination. Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," quotes this passage on p. 316.
[46] See Bono, The Word of God , for discussion of symbolic exegesis.
[47] Paula Findlen, "Jokes of Nature and Jokes of Knowledge: The Playfulness of Scientific Discourse in Early Modern Europe," Renaissance Quarterly 43 (1990), p. 325.
[48] See Jean Céard, La Nature et les Prodiges: l'insolite au seizième siècle (Geneva: Droz, 1977.)

[49] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte: la transformation du mythe de la confusion des langues au XVIe siècle," Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance 42 (1980): 577-94, p. 577.
[50] Ibid.
[51] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 578 ff. See also Bono, The Word of God .
[52] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 581.
[53] Konrad Gesner, Mithridates. De Differentiis Linguarum , ed. Manfred Peters (Aalen: Scientia Verlag, 1974), reprint of 1555 Zurich edition.
[54] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 581.
[55] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 583, and pp. 581-84 for this discussion in general.
[56] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 583.
[57] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 581.
[58] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 585.
[59] Claude Duret, Thresor de l'histoire des langues de cest univers (1613) (Geneva: Slatkine Reprints, 1972), original publication: Cologny, 1613; Claude Duret, Histoire admirable des plantes et herbes (Paris, 1605.)
[60] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 585.
[61] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," see pp. 585 ff.
[62] Ambroise Paré, Le livre des animavx et de l'excellence de l'homme , ed. J. F. Malgaigne, in vol. 3 of Oeuvres complètes d'Ambroise Paré , 735-69 (Paris: J. B. Baillière, 1841), as quoted by Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 589.
[63] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 589.
[64] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte, " pp. 589-90.
[65] Ashworth, "Emblematic World View," pp. 304-5.
[66] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 592.
[67] Céard, "De Babel à la Pentecôte," p. 593.
[68] Bono The Word of God , p. 274.
[69] On Boyle, see two recent works: Rose-Mary Sargent, The Diffident Naturalist: Robert Boyle and the Philosophy of Experiment (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), especially Chap. 5, "Biblical Hermeneutics"; and Robert Markley, Fallen Languages: Crises of Representation in Newtonian England, 1660-1740 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1993.)
[70] For example, see Kenneth J. Knoespel, "Newton in the School of Time: The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended and the Crisis of Seventeenth-Century Historiography," The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 30 (1989), pp. 19-41; and, James E. Force and Richard H. Popkin, Essays on the Context, Nature, and Influence of Isaac Newton's Theology (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1990), and Force and Popkin, eds., The Books of Nature and Scripture (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1994.)
[71] This quotation from Yahuda Newton MS 1 is taken from Sarah Hutton, "More, Newton, and the Language of Biblical Prophecy," in Force and Popkin, Books of Nature and Scripture , p. 46.
[72] Hutton, "More, Newton, and the Language of Biblical Prophecy," p. 46.
[73] I am indebted to James Force for allowing me to see page proofs of his now published essay, "Samuel Clarke's Four categories of Deism, Isaac Newton, and the Bible," in Richard H. Popkin, ed., Scepticism in the History of Philosophy (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1996), p. 58.
[74] See Bono The Word of God , pp. 140-66, for discussion of Croll's Calvinist Paracelsianism.
[75] Markley, Fallen Languages , esp. Chap. 4, pp. 131-77; p. 144.
[76] See works by Knoespel and Markley cited earlier and their essays infra.
[77] Dobbs, Janus Faces of Genius , pp. 87-8, quoting Yahuda MS. Var. I, Newton MS 21, ff. 2-3.