Science, Politics and Universities in Europe, 1600–1800: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Science, Politics and Universities in Europe, 1600–1800

1st Edition

By John Gascoigne


304 pages

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Hardback: 9780860787679
pub: 1999-01-28
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This book seeks to illustrate the interconnections of science and philosophy with religion and politics in the early modern period by focusing on the institutional dynamics of the university. Much of the work is devoted to one key university- that of Cambridge- and examines the major issues of the institutional setting of Newton’s work, the religious and political circumstances that favoured its dissemination, and the way in which it was dealt with in the curriculum. But the author also seeks to place the problem of the role of science in the early modern university in a larger, European context. To do so, he includes a close prosopographical analysis of the scientific community from the mid-15th TO the end of the 18th century, and discusses the complex relations between the universities and the Enlightenment.


'Gascoigne combines formidable erudition with a very readable prose style, using well-chosen quotations from contemporary sources to point up his incisive analytical judgements.' Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 36(3).282-283 'These studies deserve re-publication as a collection…. they provide a penetrating view of the interplay of intellectual and political currents in the universities of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.' The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

Table of Contents

Contents: Isaac Barrow’s academic milieu: Interregnum and Restoration Cambridge; The universities and the Scientific Revolution: the case of Newton and Restoration Cambridge; The Cambridge curriculum in the age of Newton as revealed through the accounts of Samuel Blithe; Politics, patronage and Newtonianism: the Cambridge example; Mathematics and meritocracy: the emergence of the Cambridge mathematical tripos; Church and state allied:the failure of parliamentary reform of the English universities, 1688-1800; A reappraisal of the role of the universities in the Scientific Revolution; The 18th-century scientific community: a prosopographical study; The universities and the Enlightenment; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General