CAMBRIDGE PLATONISTS , a school of philosophico-religious thinkers which flourished mainly atCambridge University in the second
See also:half of the 17th century . The founder was Benjamin
See also:Whichcote and the chief members were
See also:Henry More and
See also:Norris (see
See also:separate articles) . Other less important members were
See also:Nathanael Culverwel (d . 1651?),
See also:Theophilus Gale (1628-1678), John Pordage (1607-1681),
See also:Rust (d . 167o), John
See also:Smith (1618-1652) and John Worthington (1618-'671) . They represented liberal thought .at the
See also:time and were generally known as Latitudinarians . Their views were due to a reaction against three
See also:main tendencies in contemporary
See also:English thought: the
See also:sacerdotalism of Laud and his followers, the obscurantist sectaries and, most important of all, the doctrines of
See also:Hobbes . They consist chiefly of a reconciliation between reason and religion, resulting in a generally tolerant spirit . They tend always to mysticism and the comtemplation of things transcendental . In spite of inaccuracy and the lack of critical capacity in dealing with their authorities both
See also:ancient and
See also:modern, the Cambridge Platonists exercised a valuable influence on English
See also:theology and thought in general . Their chief contributions to V . 4thought were Cudworth's theory of the " plastic nature " of
See also:God, More's elaborate mysticism, Norris's appreciation of
See also:Malebranche, Glanvill's conception of scepticism as an aid to Faith, and, in a less degree, the harmony of Faith and Reason elaborated by Culverwel .
See also:doctrine on which they all combined to
See also:lay especial emphasis was the absolute existence of right and wrong quite apart from the theory of divine authority . Their chief authorities were
See also:Plato and the Neo-platonists (between whom they made no adequate distinction), and among modern philosophers,
See also:Descartes, Malebranche and Boehme . From these
See also:sources they attempted to evolve a philosophy of religion, which would not only refute the views of Hobbes, but would also
See also:free theology finally from the errors of
See also:scholasticism, without plunging it in the newer dangers of unfettered rational-ism (see Entices) . See
See also:Tulloch, Rational Theology in England in the 17th Century; Hallam, Literature of
See also:Europe (
See also:chap. on Philosophy from 165o to 'goo ;
See also:Hunt, Religious Thought in England; von Stein, Sieben
See also:Bucher zur Geschichte
See also:des Platonismus (1862), and
See also:works on individual philosophers appended to
See also:biographies .
EARLS AND DUKES OF CAMBRIDGE
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