Reference > Cambridge History > The Age of Dryden > Platonists and Latitudinarians > Cudworth’s True Intellectual Systems of the Universe; More and Cudworth Compared
  His Divine Dialogues John Smith’s Select Discourses  

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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VIII. The Age of Dryden.

XI. Platonists and Latitudinarians.

§ 13. Cudworth’s True Intellectual Systems of the Universe; More and Cudworth Compared.


Naturally disposed to weigh evidence and carefully to ponder over each conclusion, Cudworth was as deliberate as More was unquestionably precipitate in his judgments; and, at his death, a pile of unpublished manuscripts, mostly unfinished, gave evidence of a vast amount of patient toil, the results of which were not destined ever to be given to the world. His great masterpiece, The true Intellectual System of the Universe, was not published until 1678, when it was fated to meet with a reception, for the most part, unsympathetic, and, in some quarters, distinctly hostile, according as it ran counter to the prevailing scientific cynicism or to the growing religious formalism; while, to quote the language of Martineau, “it laid itself open to the rebuke of scholars, for reading the author’s favourite ideas, without adequate warrant, into the Greek text of Plato, Aristotle, and Plotinus.” The whole treatise, indeed, according to the same eminent critic,
conceded too much to the Pagan philosophers, recognising among them the essence of Christian wisdom, to suit the assumptions of either the rising High Churchmen or the retiring Puritans. It placed too little value on the instituted observances of religion for the former, and on its niceties of dogma for the latter.
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CONTENTS · VOLUME CONTENTS · INDEX OF ALL CHAPTERS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  His Divine Dialogues John Smith’s Select Discourses  
 
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