An Anthology of the Cambridge Platonists : Sources and Commentary book cover
1st Edition

An Anthology of the Cambridge Platonists
Sources and Commentary

  • Available for pre-order on June 20, 2023. Item will ship after July 11, 2023
ISBN 9781032023847
July 11, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
380 Pages

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Book Description

Despite their neglect in many histories of ideas in the West, the Cambridge Platonists constitute the most significant and influential group of thinkers in the Platonic tradition between the Florentine Renaissance and the Romantic Age. This anthology offers readers a unique, thematically structured compendium of their key texts, along with an extensive introduction and a detailed account of their legacy. The volume draws upon a resurgence of interest in thinkers such as Benjamin Whichcote, 1609-1683; Ralph Cudworth, 1618-1688; Henry More, 1614-1687; John Smith, 1618-1652, and Anne Conway 1631-1679, and includes hitherto neglected extracts and some works of less familiar authors within the group, like George Rust 1627?-1670; Joseph Glanville, 1636-1680 and John Norris 1657-1712. It also highlights the Cambridge Platonists’ important role in the history of philosophy and theology, influencing luminaries such as Shaftesbury, Berkeley, Leibniz, Joseph de Maistre, S.T. Coleridge, and W.R. Emerson. The Cambridge Platonist Anthology is an indispensable guide to the serious study of a pivotal group of Western metaphysicians, and is of great value for both students and scholars of philosophy, literature, history, and theology.

Key Features

  • The only systematic anthology to the Cambridge Platonists available, facilitating quick comprehension of key themes and ideas
  • Uses new translations of the Latin works, vastly improving upon faulty and misleading earlier translations
  • Offers a wide range of new perspective on the Cambridge Platonists, showing the extent of their influence in early modern philosophy and beyond.

Table of Contents


Part I: Cambridge Platonism at the Origins of the Enlightenment
1. Cambridge Platonism: A Philosophical Introduction
2. The Cambridge Platonists: A Very Brief History  - Marilyn A. Lewis
3. From the Latitude Men to the Cambridge Enlightenment: Anthologizing the Cambridge Platonists
4. From Campagnac to Taliaferro and Teply: Cambridge Platonist Anthologies Old and New

Part II: Historical Context and Philosophical Programme
Part II Introduction
5. Conversion and Original Insight
6. Political Platonism and Early Sermons on Rational Theology
7. True Theism and the Philosophy of Religion
Part II Commentary

Part III: Cambridge Platonism in Early Modern Thought
Part III Introduction
8. The Critique of John Calvin: Divine Fate Immoral
9. The Critique of Thomas Hobbes: Mechanistic Fate
10. The Critique of René Descartes: Infinity and Nullibism
11. The Critique of Jacob Böhme: Enthusiasm and Alchemistic Pantheism
12. The Critique of Baruch de Spinoza: Atheism and Hylozoism Commentary
Part III Commentary 

Part IV: Ontology and Metaphysics
Part IV Introduction
13. The Character of Metaphysics
14. The Nature and Existence of God
15. Space
16. Nature
17. Body and Spirit
Part IV Commentary

Part V: Epistemology and Ethics
Part V Introduction
18. Intuitive Vision and the First Principle of Divine Goodness
19. Libertarian Freedom
20. Theoretical Reason and Knowledge
21. Practical Reason and Virtue
22. The Sources of Political Power
Part V Commentary

Part VI: Rational Theology
Part VI Introduction
23. Faith and Reason
24. The Fall of the Soul and the Resurrection of the Body
25. Soul-Making Theodicy
26. Christ’s Incarnation and Sacrifice
27. The Conflagration and Restitution of All Things
Part VI Commentary

Part VII: Epilogue
28. The Reception History of the Cambridge Platonists

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Douglas Hedley is Professor of the Philosophy of Religion in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Clare College. He is the author of Coleridge, Philosophy and Religion (2000) and a trilogy on the Religious Imagination, and has edited various volumes including Revisioning Cambridge Platonism (2019). He was the Principial Investigator of an AHRC grant, "The Cambridge Platonists at the Origins of Enlightenment, 2016-2019."

Christian Hengstermann is Associate Lecturer in Classics at Wuppertal University in Germany. He is the editor of The History of the Religious Imagination in Christian Platonism (2021).