Whiston, William; A New Theory of the Earth, From its Original to the Consummation of all Things. Wherein the Creation of the World in Six Days, The Universal Deluge, And the General Conflagration, As laid down in the Holy Scriptures, Are shewn to be perfectly agreeable to Reason and Philosophy. With a large Introductory Discourse concerning the genuine Nature, Stile and Extent of the Mosaick History of the Creation. 1st edition, London. R. Roberts, 1696. Large octavo, pp. 6, 95, 1, 388, 4. With the advertisement, and errata leaf. With an engraved frontispiece of the solar system, seven full page engraved plates, one being a large folding plate, and five half page plates depicting the earth and the cosmos.
The work is complete and in contemporary stamped calf boards with a later calf spine with raised bands and gilt titles. The binding is tight and clean, the text is clean with a marginal penned notation on one page and owners book plate on paste down. Early penned signature of Thomas Green on rear end sheet. In very good condition. The first edition is rare.
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William Whiston (1667 – 1752) was an English theologian, historian, and mathematician. In 1701 he resigned his Rectorship to become Isaac Newton's substitute as Lucasian lecturer at Cambridge and in 1702 succeeded Isaac Newton as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. Whiston was an early advocate, along with Edmond Halley, of the periodicity of comets and also argued that comets were responsible for past catastrophes in earth's history which he made a focal point in his “New Theory of the Earth”.
His treatise A New Theory of the Earth from its Original to the Consummation of All Things (1696), is an articulation of creationism and flood geology which held that the global flood of Noah had been caused by a comet. He argued that a physical change in the earth’s surface required a physical cause. Using a comet installed by God in a perfect orbit that comet became the earth. To produce the flood another comet passed near the earth, its watery tail causing the Deluge and its gravitational attraction breaking the earth’s crust and drawing out the earth’s deep waters. He proposed that this was when the earth was first tilted on its axis producing the seasons and provided an illustration. The treatise earned Whiston the praise of both Newton and Locke.