Article ID: CBB773134335

Johannes Amerpoel and Géraud de Cordemoy: The Meaning of nefesh in Two Cartesian Reconstructions of Genesis I (2021)


This paper sheds light on the reception of Cartesian cosmology in the second half of the seventeenth century in the works of two ‘Mosaic philosophers’: Copie d’une lettre ecrite à un sçavant religieux de la Compagnie de Jésus (1668) of Géraud de Cordemoy and Cartesius Mosaizans (1669) of Johannes Amerpoel. Both authors focused on the compatibility of the Biblical story of Creation as told by Moses and Descartes’ cosmology. My purpose is twofold. First, given the paucity of scholarship dealing with this subject, I focus on Johannes Amerpoel’s intellectual biography and I offer a descriptive analysis of his treatise, with an emphasis on the discussion concerning the fifth and sixth days from the book of Genesis. Second, I consider Cordemoy’s account of Creation as a complementary part that will provide a test-case for the reading endorsed in this paper. I argue that Amerpoel and Cordemoy’s exegetical projects show a variation in the use of accommodation theory among Cartesians. A comparison of the understanding of the Hebrew term nefesh (נפֶֶשׁ) in Cordemoy’s letter and Amerpoel’s Cartesius Mosaizans serves as a support for this claim.

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Authors & Contributors
Mandelbrote, Scott
Meer, Jitse M. van der
Snobelen, Stephen David
Katz, David
Artés Hernández, José Antonio
Forshaw, Peter J.
MHNH (Revista Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas)
Bruniana & Campanelliana: Ricerche Filosofiche e Materiali Storico-testuali
Galilæana: Journal of Galilean Studies
Past and Present
Medioevo, Rivista di Storia della Filosofia Medievale
Aleph: Historical Studies in Science and Judaism
Palgrave Macmillan
Brepols Publishers
Yale University
Science and religion
Natural philosophy
Galilei, Galileo
Kepler, Johannes
Newton, Isaac
Hutchinson, John
Swedenborg, Emanuel
Copernicus, Nicolaus
Time Periods
17th century
16th century
Early modern
18th century
Rome (Italy)
United States
Royal Society of London
Académie des Sciences, Paris
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)

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