Francis Bacon’s scientific apocalypse

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The events of 1621 brought tremendous change to the life of Francis Bacon. For in this year his meteoric rise to political power, which had landed him in the office of Lord Chancellor, abruptly ended. Accused and convicted of accepting bribes (though not an uncommon practice even among his accusers), he was impeached, removed from office, and exiled from the King's Court and the vicinity of London. These events had a profound effect upon what Bacon regarded as his life's work, his program for the restoration of learning and the sciences which he called the ‘ Instauratio Magna’. This ‘Great Instauration’ was to have been the beginning of a new apocalyptic age, ordained by Divine Providence and foretold in the Scriptures, in which mankind's original mastery over nature would be restored through proper scientific method. It was also to have been ushered in by Francis Bacon himself, for God, in Bacon's way of thinking, had given him political power, in addition to his own special insight, in order to accomplish this task. The loss of this power was more than a blow to his personal fortunes. It brought a crisis in his apocalyptic expectations and forced a serious shift in his interpretation of what he called ‘the history of providence’, by which he meant the unfolding of God's plan for the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe End that Does
Subtitle of host publicationArt, Science and Millennial Accomplishment
PublisherEquinox Publishing Ltd
Pages97-114
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781845534882
ISBN (Print)190476889X, 9781904768890
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

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