Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ask Paul Mathers: Are Americans interested in Sir Thomas Browne?

You can ask Paul Mathers a question about arts/literature/culture/history/etiquette by sending it to: askpaulmathers@gmail.com

As mentioned, here's a link to my post on Religio Medici: http://ticklemebrahms.blogspot.com/2010/12/religio-medici-by-sir-thomas-browne.html

You can buy a paperback copy (the very same imprint as the one I own) of Religio Medici here: http://www.amazon.com/Religio-Medici-Hydriotaphia-Classic-Reprint/dp/1440061238/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1326266180&sr=8-13

And here you can download an eBook edition for cheap (although the misspelling of the author's name raises my eyebrow a bit): http://www.amazon.com/Religio-Medici-ebook/dp/B004IAS15O/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1326266304&sr=1-2


  1. Well done Paul, quite an impressive off-the-cuff reply. All good practice ! 'Rupert Murdock tripe' made me laugh!

    Browne born 17 days before Guy Fawkes plot Nov. 5th 1605

    Yes, Browne anticipated the schism between Science and Religion and an interesting idea that he might be a focus to re-unite these two often antagonistic spheres. Here's a possible reason for American interest in Sir T.B.

    When Africa shall no longer sell out their Blacks
    To make Slaves and Drudges to the American Tracts....

    When America shall cease to send out its Treasure
    But employ it instead in American Pleasure
    When the new World shall the old invade,
    Nor count them their Lords but their fellows in Trade.
    -Sir T.B. A Prophecy Tract 12 dated circa 1671

    Quite oracular for a seventeenth century physician!

  2. An oracular poem indeed. Hard to believe he wrote that c. 1671.
    Much less chance though that he could be the focus of uniting science & religion. He is just not well known enough & science has moved on. I don't think mainstream science has any desire to unite science & religion as they are still Kantian & think that the knowledge of God cannot be known in this empirical world. Scientists, & especially the militant American scientists, think anything to do with the Bible or Christianity is not factual, historical, true but is in the realm of opinion & speculation or even myth.
    A true Christian worldview by contrast is not antagonistic to science for God created the universe & so the realm of science is God's realm, his general revelation. The problem comes when the scientists' ignore what God has said in the Bible i.e. they ignore key empirical interpretive evidence from the Creator himself which provides the macro hermeneutical framework for interpreting the universe & replace it with the modern naturalistic worldview. While often being non-beleivers they have a right to develop their non-theistic worldview but they do not have the right to claim that only their worldview is scientific & any other worldview should be kept out of schools & universities by the court if necessary. That's just plain arrogance & a denial of academic freedom, what is now called secular fundamentalism!