Before Newton: The Life and Times of Isaac Barrow

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A comprehensive reevaluation of Isaac Barrow (1630-1677), one of the more prominent and intriguing of all seventeenth-century men of science. Barrow is remembered today—if at all—only as Sir Isaac Newton's mentor and patron, but he in fact made important contributions to the disciplines of optics and geometry. Moreover, he was a prolific and influential preacher as well as a renowned classical scholar. By seeking to understand Barrow's mathematical work, primarily within the confines of the pre-Newtonian scientific framework, the book offers a substantial rethinking of his scientific acumen. In addition to providing a biographical study of Barrow, it explores the intimate connections among his scientific, philological, and religious worldviews in an attempt to convey the complexity of the seventeenth-century culture that gave rise to Isaac Barrow, a breed of polymath that would become increasingly rare with the advent of modern science.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A scholarly, carefully researched book for all students of 17th-century intellectual history and history of science." Choice

"...a model worthy of emulation. By focusing the attention of scholars on a single object—a theme...or a particularly representative figure...such a volume refreshes and revives the scholarly debate. Feingold and the Cambridge Universiy Press deserve our plaudits." Robert H. Kargon, Albion

" interesting case study of the seventeenth-century culture which produced modern science. An excellent book for any scholar interested in a more detailed understanding of the early development of science in general and Isaac Barrow's contributions in particular." Perceptual and Motor Skills

"Barrow emerges as an interesting person living in interesting times, and Feingold's book captures this in a scholarly manner." Tom McMullen, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521306942
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/30/1990
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

List of contributors; Editor's preface; 1. Isaac Barrow: divine, scholar, mathematician Mordechai Feingold; 2. The Optical Lectures and the foundations of the theory of optical imagery Alan E. Shapiro; 3. Barrow's mathematics: between ancients and moderns Michael S. Mahoney; 4. Isaac Barrow's academic milieu: Interregnum and Restoration Cambridge John Gascoigne; 5. Barrow as a scholar Anthony Grafton; 6. The preacher Irène Simon; 7. Isaac Barrow's library Mordechai Feingold; Index.

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