Chapter 6 The Bible in the Philosophy of Anne Conway and Henry More

In: The Philosophers and the Bible
Sarah Hutton
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My chapter discusses how Henry More and Anne Conway use of the Bible in their respective philosophies. More was persuaded that rational sense can be extracted from obscure or figurative biblical texts and developed an elaborate threefold interpretative scheme for doing so, which is best exemplified in his Conjectura cabbalistica. Nevertheless, More did not draw on the Bible in his philosophical writings because as an apologist for religion he aimed to defend religious belief against rational unbelievers by using the kind of arguments which they would accept. Anne Conway’s philosophy too is a rational defense of religious truth. And she too uses the Bible sparingly. However, she eschewed More’s high flown allegorical interpretation of Scripture, and took a more literalist approach to interpreting scripture. Although she fully accepted the authority of the Bible and used it in support of key tenets of her philosophy, she was prepared to modify Christian doctrine in the interests of better rational understanding.

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The Philosophers and the Bible

The Debate on Sacred Scripture in Early Modern Thought

Series:  Brill's Studies in Intellectual History, Volume: 333