Full Text

More, Henry

SARAH HUTTON


Subject Literature » Renaissance Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405194495.2012.x


Extract

Philosopher, poet, and theologian, Henry More (1614–87) was the most prolific of the Cambridge Platonists, who were renowned for the tolerant, rational approach to religion which inspired the Latitudinarian movement. In his own time, More enjoyed a reputation as a distinguished English philosopher. A Platonist in the Renaissance tradition, he drew inspiration from Plato and Plotinus, among ancient philosophers, and Origen among Christian thinkers. More was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, in 1614 to Calvinist parents. He entered Christ's College, Cambridge in 1631, became a fellow of Christ's in 1639, and spent his entire career in Cambridge until his death in 1687. However, he was neither an isolated nor an uncontroversial figure. His anti-Calvinism was out of kilter with post-Civil War Cambridge, while his Origenism and his staunch defence of liberty of conscience brought accusations of heresy after the Restoration. He was highly receptive to new currents of thought, especially Galilean science, Cartesianism, and atomist natural philosophy, as well as a stringent critic of the atheistical philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and Baruch Spinoza. He was one of the first champions of the new philosophy of René Descartes in England, though he subsequently became increasingly critical of Descartes's metaphysics. He employed a variety of genres in his writings from formal treatises to poetry ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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