Title: John Keill - title page for An Examination of Dr. Burnet’s Theory of the Earth: with some Remarks on Mr. Whiston’s New Theory of the Earth (London, 1734)
Original Format: photograph: negative
Description: John Keill, Oxford’s Savilian Professor of Mathematics, was one of the principal apostles of Newtonian mathematics who helped to establish Newton reputation in the face of the claims of Leibniz and others. in this work Keill attacked Thomas Burnet for his Cartesian Sacred Theory of the Earth, and William Whiston for his own natural philosophical account of the Earth’s early history. Keill accused Burnet of manifesting arrogance by proposing a systematic solution to such difficult problems - and he pointed out that Newton had proved in his Principia that the vortices to which Descartes appealed were physically impossible. In his assault on Whiston, he singled out the latter’s argument that a comet had given rise to Noah’s flood and, in consequence, the oceans that persist today.