By Roger French, Andrew Wear

This publication considers the underlying forces which helped to supply a revolution in seventeenth-century medication. It exhibits how within the interval among 1630 and 1730 medication got here to symbolize whatever greater than a marginal job unrelated to social and highbrow phenomena and in addition the way it was once motivated and shaped through an analogous advancements in faith, politics, technology and trade which formed the final background of the 17th century. In an try and divert the historiography of the topic clear of Newton, traditional philosophy and the 'scientific revolution', the essays during this quantity not just position medication right into a 'context' of political, spiritual and social swap but in addition discover the dynamics which formed the character of drugs within the age of revolution. no longer unusually, faith emerges as might be the best exterior strength for switch, colouring such a lot elements of nationwide and native lifestyles and interacting with the expansion within the volume of clinical wisdom and perform.

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48 The predominantly sectarian character of the medical reform movement is beyond doubt. Typically, individuals like John Webster and Henry Pinnell, who both favoured the new medicine, were equally antagonistic to the claims of a state church, whatever form it might take, to oversee the religious and moral welfare of the nation. 49 His views were later echoed by Pinnell, who extended Webster's earlier arguments to incorporate the idea that true religion should complement the study of the creation and not, as was currently the case, be divided from it in the false dichotomy of the scholastic system.

Medicine, religion and the puritan revolution 39 Just as Faber and van Helmont felt an immediate attachment to the mystical and eirenic character of Quaker thought, so too did many of the English iatrochemists of the 1650s show a similar preference for those forms of religious experience which excluded learned dogmatism and the imposition of clerical authority by the magistrate (see above, pp. 21-30). John Webster and Henry Pinnell, for example, refused to acknowledge the authority of any sect in the 1650s, preferring instead to 'seek' the truth of the gospels by their own lights and that of the creation.

37)-77 76 77 Pinnell, Philosophy Reformed, sig. A4r. For a more detailed account of millennial and apocalyptic themes in the writings of the English medical reformers, see Elmer, 'Medicine and the Puritan Revolution', pp. 332-67. M. Coker, A Propheticall Revelation (London, 1654), sig. A2v; pp. 1-2; M. Coker, A Short and Plain Narrative (London, 1654), p. 6; M. Coker, A Whip of Small Cords to Scourge Antichrist (London, 1654). H. Nicholson, Conway Letters (London, 1930), pp. 98-104. Among those who reported these cures to Lady Anne Conway was the astrologerdivine Robert Gell, who shared Coker's enthusiasm for religious tolerance and the imminence of the millennium.

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