London: Printed by R. Norton for Walter Kettilby, 1684. First English language edition. Hardcover. Folio (12 3/4 x 8"). , 327, pp. Contemporary full spotted calf with gold lettering and ruling to spine. Raised bands. Additional engraved title. Decorative initials.
"The Theory of the Earth" is Thomas Burnet's best known work. The first part was published in 1681 in Latin under the title "Telluris Theoria Sacra," and three years later in its English translation; the second part* appeared in 1689 (1690 in English).
The book is a speculative cosmogony, in which Burnet suggested a hollow earth with most of the water inside until Noah's Flood, at which time mountains and oceans appeared. He calculated the amount of water on Earth's surface, stating there was not enough to account for the Flood.
Thomas Burnet was to some extent influenced by Descartes who had written on the creation of the earth in "Principia philosophiae" (1644), and was criticized on those grounds by Roger North. The heterodox views of Isaac La Peyrère included the idea that the Flood was not universal; Burnet's theory was at least in part intended to answer him on that point.
This work is illustrated with numerous in-text figs, and is complete with its two large folded engravings (Western and Eastern Hemispheres) depicting the world as it was known then.
Binding rubbed along edges, with sporadic abrasion to leather. Closed tear along front joint. Ex-Library copy with bookplates on inside of front cover (University of Southern California) and stamp at lower margin of the first printed leaf. Previous owner's name in ink dated 1750 on front free endpaper. Small inscription in purple ink on title page (not affecting lettering). Binding in overall fair, interior in very good condition. f to vg. Item #42643
* The two last books containing the burning of the world, and concerning the new heavens and new earth.