Prophecy and Power

Prophecy and Power : Astrology in Early Modern England

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This book is a rediscovery of the history of astrology in early modern England. It seeks to overturn the accepted view that astrology was a marginal pursuit which died out after the mid-17th century. In reality astrology was a vital part of English cultural life, surviving in various forms and despite powerful opposition well into the 19th century. Drawing on a wide range of unpublished primary sources, the author examines the heyday of astrology, its practitioners, clients and critics and the power struggles which characterized its development in the mid-17th century. He analyzes the decline of astrology in early modern England, and the attempts to marginalize astrological practice, while among the elite astrology was absorbed into the development of Newtonian natural philosophy. This accessible work provides a picture of a complex and important age, whose values and attitudes have helped to shape modern society. Informed by an awareness of contemporary debates in history and social theory, this book will appeal to social historians and to students and researchers in the history and philosophy of science and the history of ideas, as well as the general reader interested in more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 152 x 229mm | 528g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • bibliography, index
  • 0745606040
  • 9780745606040

Table of contents

Part 1 Introduction: this book; astrology in historical context; astrological theory and terminology. Part 2 From heyday to crisis - 1642-1710: astrology in the interregnum - halcyon days, William Lilly and "democratic" astrology, Elias Ashmole and "elite" astrology, the astrologers "Feasts"; astrology in crisis - after the restoration; a scientific reform, a Ptolemaic reform, the strange death of John Partridge. Part 3 Life after death - 1710-1800: popular astrology - survival, astrology in popular culture, attacks; from popular to plebeian; judicial astrology - decline, the constituency, judicial astrologers, middling astrology and the middle classes, Worsdale and Sibly - judicial astrology "reborn"; high astrology - disappearance, astrology and the natural philosophers, Newton, the occult and astrology, authorized prophets; the reform of prophecy - patricians, plebeians and the middling sort, mentalities and ideologies, more

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