The meaning of nature's corruption in "The Fall of Man: or the Corruption of Nature" (1616)

Start - End 
2018 - 2023 (ongoing)



In 1616, English bishop Godfrey Goodman wrote the text The Fall of Man: or the Corruption of Nature. In this text, he shows the extent of the corruption in nature, and her impending death, as caused by man's fall. This text was attacked in 1627 by George Hakewill in An Apologie and Declaration of the Power and Providence of God in the Government of the World, or an Examination and Censure of the Common Errour Touching Natures Perpetuall and Universall Decay. Hakewill refutes the believe in the corruption of nature, and his refutation is taken as the final refutation of this 'common error' by the founders of the Royal Society in London. Hakewill proposes a different reading of the facts that Goodman points to as evidence of nature's corruption, and by reinterpreting nature, her decay becomes not only absent, but meaningless. In comparing the two texts, knowing that the latter one is taken as the final refutation of a common error by the first experimental scientists, I investigate how the establising of a 'corruption' in nature requires a specific interpretation of nature's 'significance', and that during the scientific revolution, this significance is reconstituted.



Phd Student(s)