Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

The Theory of the Earth: Containing an Account of the Original of the Earth, and of All the General Changes which it hath already undergone, or is to undergo, Till the Consummation of all Things. The Two First Books Concerning The Deluge, and Concerning Paradise [WITH] The Theory of the Earth: Containing an Account of the Original of the Earth, and of All the General Changes which it hath already undergone, or is to undergo, Till the Consummation of all Things. The Two Last Books Concerning The Burning of the World, and Concerning the New Heavens and New Earth [BOUND WITH] A Review of the Theory of the Earth, And of its Proofs: Especially In Reference To Scripture

London: Printed by R. Norton, for Walker Kettilby, 1684, 1690. First English language edition. Hardcover. Folio (12 3/4 x 8"). [20], 327, [1]pp., 2 double plates. Contemporary full spotted calf with gold lettering and ruling to spine. Raised bands. Additional engraved title page. Title page printed in black with double border. Separate title page for the Second Book. Decorative initials and ruling headers. Marginalia. Contains eleven engraved figures in the first, three in the second book. Two double page engravings of the earth (Western and Eastern Hemispheres), depicting the world as it was known then.


Folio (14 1/4 x 9 1/4"). [14], 224, [2] 52 [1]pp. Rebound with brown library tape frame over marbled paper-covered boards, retaining original Morocco label with gilt lettering on spine. Additional engraved title page. Title page printed in black with double border. Seperate title pages for Fourth Book and Review. Decorative initials and ruling headers. Marginalia. Contains one engraving, an abstract depiction of the earth and its surrounding "opake Cloud" on page 136.

Thomas Burnet's best known work. The first two parts were published in 1681 in Latin under the title "Telluris Theoria Sacra," and three years later in its English translation; the second part, The Two Last Books containing the burning of the world, and concerning the new heavens and new earth, appeared in 1689 (1690 in English). The Review was published in 1690.

The book is a speculative cosmogony, Burnet suggesting a hollow earth with most of the water inside until Noah's Flood, with mountains and oceans appearing at that time. His calculations of the amount of water on Earth's surface resulted in his belief that there was not enough to account for the Flood.

To some extent influenced by Descartes' writings on the creation of the earth in "Principia philosophiae" (1644), Thomas Burnet was criticized on those grounds by Roger North. Isaac La Peyrère's views included the idea of the Flood not being universal, and Burnet's theory was in part intended to answer him on that point. Isaac Newton admired Burnet for his theological approach to geological processes but was rejected by Burnet, in particular regarding Newton's suggestion that God had originally created longer days.

From preface to the First Book: "Having given an account of this whole work in the first Chapter, and of the method of either Book, whereof this Volume consists, in their proper places, there remains not much to be said here to the Reader. This Theory of the Earth may be call'd Sacred, because it is not the common Philosophy of the Earth, or of the Bodies that compose it, but respects only the great Turns of Fate, and the Revolutions of our Natural World; such as are taken notice of in the Sacred Writings, and are truley the Hinges upon which the Providence of this Earth moves; or whereby it opens and shuts the several successive scenes wherof it is made up. This English Edition is the same in substance with the Latin, though, I confess, 'tis not so properly a Translation, as a new Composition upon the same ground, there being several additional Chapters in it; and several new-moulded."

From the Introduction of the First Book: "Since I was first inclin'd to the Contemplation of Nature, and took pleasure to trace out the Causes of Effects, and the dependance of one thing upon another in the visible Creation, I had always, methought, a particular curiosity to look back into the first Sources and ORIGINAL of Things; tand to view in my mind, so far as I was able, the Beginning and Progress of a RISING WORLD... But when we speak of a Rising World, and the Contemplation of it, we do not mean this of the Great Universe; for who can describe the Original of that? But we speak of the Sublunary World, This Earth and its dependencies, which rose out of a Chaos about six thousand years ago; And seeing it hath faln to our lot to act upon this Stage, to have our present home and habitation here, it seems most resonable, and the place design'd by Providence where we should first imploy our thoughts to understand the works of God and Nature."

From preface to the Third Book: "... The Conflagration of the World. The question will be only about the bounds and limits of the Conflagration, the Causes and the Manner of it. These I have fix'd according to the truest measures I could take from Scripture, and from Nature. I differ, I believe, from the common Sentiment in this, that, in following S. Peter's Philosophy, I suppose, that the burning of the Earth will be a true Liquefaction or dissolution of it, as to the exterior Region. And that this lays a foundation for New Heavens and a New Earth; which seems to me as plain a doctrine in Christian Religion, as the Conflagration itself."

From the Review: "To take a review of this Theory of the Earth, which we have now finish'd, We must consider, first, the extent of it: and then the principal parts whereoff it consists. It reaches, as you see, from one end of the World to the other: From the first Chaos to the last day, and the Consummation of all things. This, probably, will run the length of Seven Thousands Years: which is a good competent space of time to exercise our thoughts upon, and to observe several Scenes which Nature and Providence bring into View within the compass of so many Ages."

Contains one page at rear of Review listing books printed for Walker Kettilby.

First volume: 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 small library stamps at lower margin of the first dedication page and at end of book. Previous owner's name, John Hudson, 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.

Secon volume: Binding with marbled boards rubbed and lightly scuffed. Two illustrated USC library plates on inside front cover. Front free endpaper separated. Additional title page attached only with three inches around middle, both with some chipping along edges. Dedication pages, preface and two endpapers at rear also with light chipping along edges. Some worming at topstarting with second leaf of dedication through second leaf of table of content. Binding in overall fair, interior in good- to very good condition. fair to vg. Item #47054

Price: $1,250.00

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