James Hutton on Religion and Geology: the unpublished preface to his Theory of the Earth

Annals of Science 32 (3):187-193 (1975)
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James Hutton knew before its publication that his geological theory would be subjected to religious criticism, and in an eventually rejected preface he endeavoured to mitigate that criticism. His theory is an almost perfect expression of the deistic tenets in which he believed. But he sensed that his attempted defence was inadequate, and so he submitted his preface to William Robertson for advice. Robertson rewrote Hutton's preface for him but also suggested tactfully that it not be published, advice which Hutton took. Upon publication, his theory received its full measure of religious opposition, but it is unlikely that Hutton's preface would have forestalled any of it. I transcribe and attempt to date the preface, discuss its contents, and suggest its usefulness in Huttonian studies



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History of English Thought in the Eighteenth Century.Leslie Stephen - 2011 - New York,: Cambridge University Press.
James Hutton and his public, 1785–1802.Dennis R. Dean - 1973 - Annals of Science 30 (1):89-105.

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