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William Whiston, title page to "A New Theory of the Earth," 5th edition (London, 1737). Whiston succeeded Isaac Newton as third Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University in 1701. An early apostle of Newtonian philosophy, he entered the debate on Biblical chronology with his book, "A New Theory of the Earth" (1696), which sought to refute the widely read work of Thomas Burnet, "The Sacred Theory of the Earth." Although both Whiston and Burnet were to some degree skeptical of Biblical (or Mosaic) accounts of creation, Whiston proposed a theory that the flood was caused by the impact of a comet. Photo ID RB-WW1737-1

 

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