Volume 4, Issue 1, Spring 2015
Atoms and Providence in the Natural Philosophy of Francis Coventriensis (1652)
During the Interregnum, English natural philosophers and chymists became deeply interested in Pierre Gassendi’s revival of Epicurean atomism. In the English context, strategies to accommodate atomism to Christian doctrines were fraught with religious and political implications. English Roman Catholics differed from their Protestant compatriots in insisting that God did not cease to operate miracles at the close of the apostolic age. The English friar known as Franciscus à Sancta Clara embraced atomism on the grounds that a new and better science of material causes was indispensable for the accurate assessment of God’s recent and future miracles.