"Anne Conway and Francis Mercury van Helmont on Salvation, Time, Creatures, and Worlds"

The 2024 Margaret Dauler Wilson Lecture
Date
Apr 26, 2024, 4:00 pm6:00 pm

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Abstract:

The philosophy of Anne Conway (1631–1679) and Francis Mercury van Helmont (1614–1698) was largely developed in collaboration, and in opposition to that of their close personal friends, the Cambridge Platonists. They all drew on Origenist ideas about the pre-existence and transmigration of souls, but they developed these in different ways, with Conway and van Helmont going much further than any of the others. However, Conway and van Helmont's commitment to universal, permanent salvation, coupled with their commitment to an infinite past, creates a problem: surely everything should already have been saved by now. I shall endeavour to ease this tension by reference to the equivalence they drew between microcosmic creatures and macrocosmic worlds.