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In Praise of the Theologie naturelle

O'Brien, John

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This article deals with a hitherto unknown and unpublished English poem on the Theologie Naturelle of the Catalan theologian, Raymond Sebond or Sabunde. The manuscript is contained in a copy of the French translation by Michel de Montaigne held in Middle Temple Library. It is shown that the poem dates from the mid-seventeenth century and asserts the compatibility of faith and reason, while subordinating the latter to the former. The formal properties of the poem are investigated, including the thematic material it draws on from Sebond’s own preface to his work and its echoes and parallels with the work of Du Bartas. Sebond’s place in seventeenth-century English theological writing is outlined and it is argued that the anonymous author of this original poem espouses a particular view of the relationship between theology and philosophy, foreshadowing the rise of the Royal Society, with which Middle Templars were prominently associated.


O'Brien, J. (2013). In Praise of the Theologie naturelle. The Review of English Studies, 65(269), 236-251.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 26, 2013
Online Publication Date Oct 26, 2013
Publication Date Oct 26, 2013
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2017
Publicly Available Date Apr 4, 2018
Journal Review of English Studies
Print ISSN 0034-6551
Electronic ISSN 1471-6968
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 65
Issue 269
Pages 236-251


Accepted Journal Article (600 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in The review of English studies following peer review. The version of record O'Brien, John (2014). In Praise of the Theologie naturelle. The Review of English Studies 65(269): 236-251 is available online at:

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