Jonathan Goddard

(1617—1675) physician, chemist, and anatomist

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John Wilkins (1614—1672) theologian and natural philosopher

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Jonathan Goddard (b. 1979)


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Jonathan Goddard was born in Greenwich and died in London on 24 March 1675. The son of a shipbuilder, Goddard entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford in 1632, but left after three or four years without taking a degree. It is presumed that he studied medicine on the Continent, returning to Cambridge to graduate MB (1638) and MD (1643). In 1643 he joined the College of Physicians in London; three years later he was made a Fellow. He also became a member of the London-based group of experimentally minded or ‘Baconian’ natural philosophers (with Wilkins, Ent, Glisson and Wallis) which was to become one of the sources of the future Royal Society. In 1648 he delivered the Gulston Lectures to the College of Physicians. These popular lectures were teleological in their message, arguing from the functional adaptation of the parts of the human body to the wisdom of its divine designer. Goddard accompanied Cromwell as a physician to the army on campaigns in Ireland (1649) and Scotland (1650–51), earning his reward when he was appointed Warden of Merton College Oxford in 1651. He also served briefly as MP for the University of Oxford. In 1655 he received the appointment of Professor of Physic at Gresham College in London. At the Restoration Goddard was deprived of the wardenship of Merton, but continued at Gresham College. He was one of the first Fellows of the new Royal Society, for whom he was to perform numerous experiments.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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