<i>Historical Comparisons and Historiographical Reflections</i>

Geoffrey Cantor

in Quakers, Jews, and Science

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199276684
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603389 | DOI:
 Historical Comparisons and Historiographical Reflections

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The scientific practices and attitudes to science of the Quaker and Jewish communities are compared and contrasted. Quakers tended to be more involved in science — especially the observational sciences like botany — but they were somewhat reserved when it came to scientific theorizing. In contrast, Jews, although generally less involved in science, were philosophically more adventurous. Two important conclusions from this study relating to the late Victorian period are: first, in both communities, modernizers drew on contemporary science — including the theory of evolution — in opposing traditionalists; second (although for different reasons), Quakers and Jews were generally sympathetic to Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Keywords: Quakers; Anglo-Jewry; evolution; botany; religious reform

Chapter.  4914 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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