March 2017
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Date Thursday, March 16, 2017
Time 1pm — 2:30pm CDT

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Hinkson Hall


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Trinity Symposium: Reiner Smolinski

The Queen of Science and the Handmaiden to Theology: Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards on Natural Philosophy and Noah’s Flood


Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

March 16, 2017  | Hinkson Hall, 1:00pm

The rise of natural philosophy (science) during the early Enlightenment (1650-1750) posed tremendous challenges to theologians of all stripes. Among the principal questions were such issues as the dimension, capacity, and design of Noah’s ark, the origin and universal extent of the deluge, calculations about the amount of water necessary to inundate the entire globe, and the use of fossil evidence from European and American sites. The debate involved the brightest minds of the time—men of the cloth like Robert Boyle and Sir Isaac Newton in Europe, and Cotton Mather and Jonathan Edwards in New England. Smolinki’s presentation focuses on how these clergymen employed the best historical, theological, and scientific evidence of the day, and achieved a remarkable consensus in upholding the authenticity of the Mosaic flood account. In fact, New England furnished some surprising archeological evidence in its confirmation.


This lecture is free and open to the public.
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Reiner Smolinski is Professor of English at Georgia State University. He is particularly interested in noncanonical documents in early American religious literature, history, and culture. Since 1984 he has been working on the Mather Family Papers, Puritan historiography, and hermeneutics. Among Smolinski’s ongoing projects is a study of biblical hermeneutics in 17th and 18th-century England and North America.


This event is made possible through the support of a grant from Templeton Religion Trust. The opinions expressed in this lecture are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Templeton Religion Trust.


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