• Flood conceptions in Vallisneri's thought

    Francesco Luzzini (see profile)
    Science Studies and the History of Science
    Science, History, Europe, Sixteenth century, Seventeenth century, Eighteenth century
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Earth Sciences History, Diluvialism, Science and Religion, censorship, History of science, Early modern Europe, 17th century, 18th century
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    The scientific studies of the Italian physician and naturalist Antonio Vallisneri (1661–1730) were concerned with the cultural and religious implications of the debate on fossils in the early decades of the eighteenth century. In De’ Corpi Marini he summarized the main diluvial theories but declined to support them. He explained the presence of fossils in strata in mountainous regions as the result of localized multiple flood and emersion sequences, and restricted the direct action of God to the biblical Deluge. This theory clearly contradicted the biblical interpretation provided by Catholic orthodoxy, which affirmed the existence of a single global Deluge. Vallisneri therefore had to gloss over its real meaning and use a careful self-censorship system, a strategy that he frequently used in his books. The comparison with the work of several Italian and European authors had great relevance to Vallisneri’s theories. He continually exchanged correspondence and natural objects with some of the most outstanding of the eighteenth century natural philosophers. This involvement with other scholars deeply influenced his thought, and helped him to reach a pre-eminent status in the Italian scientific community of the time.
    in: "Geology and Religion: A History of Harmony and Hostility", Proceedings of the INHIGEO Symposium in Eichstätt, Germany (July 28-August 5, 2007), edited by Martina Kölbl-Ebert, London, Geological Society, Special Publications, 310, 2009, pp. 77-81.
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