Patrick Pollak

Antiquarian and Rare Books, Manuscripts, Images and
Related Items


 Click on an image to enlarge it. Click an enlarged image to view the previous/next image. 

BURNET, Thomas.
The Theory of the Earth: Containing an Account of the Original of the Earth, and of all the General Changes Which it hath already undergone, Or Is To Undergo, Till the Consummation of all Things.

The Two First Books Concerning The DELUGE, AND Concerning PARADISE.

pp. (xviii), 327, (i). Engraved frontispiece, 2 double-page plates [world maps, with the land masses in relief and California as an island], 9 engraved figures in Book One and 3 in Book Two. Contemporary calf, front top corner repaired, spine edges worn, front free end-paper cut away, occasional neat oval stamp of TULLABEG COLLEGE, ex-libris ms. inscription of CAPT. THOS RIGBIE 1702, marginal marks and damp-staining at points throughout, a small rust-hole in H4, a reasonable copy.

*This volume is complete on its own - a second volume, THE TWO LAST BOOKS - was published in 1690. See ARCHIBALD GEIKIE Founders of Geology - 'Nowhere did speculation run so completely riot as in England with regard to theories of the origin and structure of our globe. This craze reached its height during the latter part of the seventeenth century. In 1681 Thomas Burnet published in Latin his Sacred Theory of the Earth. This work, republished in English, and favoured with the patronage of Charles II, enjoyed a wide popularity and made some impression even on the Continent. It discoursed of the original structure of our planet, and of the changes which it was destined to undergo until 'the consummation of all things.' As its title denotes, the book was meant to support orthodox religion. With this view, the Deluge was taken as one of the great events in the history of the planet. Previous to that time, it was asserted, there had been perpetual spring upon the earth, but the wickedness of mankind led to a catastrophe in which the sun's rays split open the crust of the earth, and allowed the central abyss of waters to burst forth and overwhelm the inhabited lands.' See ZITTEL History of Geology and Palaeontology pp.28-29 - ' Dr. Thomas Burnet.... thinks that in the beginning our earth was a chaotic mixture of earth, water, oil, and air, which gradually consolidated into a spherical form etc. etc............ Burnet's circumstantial sketch, which in no way militated against Biblical evidences, excited considerable attention, and won for him worldly preferment. But in a later work in 1692, Burnet treated the Mosaic account of the Fall of Man as allegory, and for this heresy he was dismissed from his appointments at Court.'

Printed by R. Norton, for Walter Kettilby, at the Bishops-Head in S.Paul's Church-Yard. London.

Date Published: 1684. Folio.

Stock No. 61561

Price: 950.00