Skip to main content

The Dark Abyss of Time

The History of the Earth and the History of Nations from Hooke to Vico

"A rich historical pastiche of 17th- and 18th-century philosophy, science, and religion."—G. Y. Craig, New Scientist

"This book, by a distinguished Italian historian of philosophy, is a worthy successor to the author’s important works on Francis Bacon and on technology and the arts. First published in Italian (in 1979), it now makes available to English readers some subtly wrought arguments about the ways in which geology and anthropology challenged biblical chronology and forced changes in the philosophy of history in the early modern era. . . . [Rossi] shows that the search for new answers about human origins spanned many disciplines and involved many fascinating intellects—Bacon, Bayle, Buffon, Burnet, Descartes, Hobbes, Holbach, Hooke, Hume, Hutton, Leibniz, de Maillet, Newton, Pufendorf, Spinoza, Toland, and, most especially, Vico, whose works are impressively and freshly reevaluated here."—Nina Gelbart, American Scientist

354 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1984

Biological Sciences: Paleobiology, Geology, and Paleontology

Earth Sciences: Paleontology

History of Science

Philosophy of Science

Table of Contents

Note and Translator’s Note
Part One: The Earth, Time, and Shells
1. Fossils: An Alternative
2. The Force of Tradition: The Paracelsian Heritage and Mosaic Philosophy
3. Changes and History: Robert Hooke
4. The Modes of Production of a Natural Object
5. The Four Impious Hypotheses of the Origin of the Universe
6. Accidental Variations in the Time Process
7. The Sacred Theory of the Earth
8. The Origin of Things and the Course of Nature, Boyle, Newton, Descartes
9. Possible Worlds and the History of the Real World
10. Burnet’s Heritage
11. Blind Chance and Admirable Design
12. Crustaceans and Volcanos
13. Systems, Romances, Theories
14. Boulanger and Vico
15. Le sombre abime du temps
16. Hutton: A Succession of Worlds
Part Two: The Ages of Human History
17. The Egyptian Culture of Moses
18. History before Adam
19. The Backward March of the History of Nations
20. A Quarrel over Chronology
21. Moses as Vir Achetypus
22. Real History and Fabulous History
23. La boria delle nazioni
24. History Sacred and Profane
25. Rough Peoples and Barbarism
26. Vico and Fréret
Part Three: Barbarism and Language
27. The Two Systems
28. A Triumvirate of Demons
29. The Fabulous Poets
30. Moses, the Deluge, and Barbarism
31. Adam as Beast-Man
32. Born with Fear
33. The Divine Legation of Moses
34. Impious Races and Language
35. The Ferini between Heresy and Orthodoxy
36. The Death of Adam

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press