Henry More, Metaphysics, and the Battle for God's Spirit

Thursday, January 20th
8pm ET

The Davenant Fellows Lectures

In recent decades, intellectual historians have attempted to chart the development of “secular modernity,” generally locating its origins in medieval or Protestant metaphysics. Key claims of these genealogies crumble under scrutiny, not least of all blaming the Reformation for a metaphysical revolution.

And yet the metaphysical gulf separating the medieval and modern periods is undeniable: the world of Kant and Schleiermacher is not the world of Albertus Magnus and Duns Scotus. If historians wish to better understand the development of secularity, a more helpful entry point is a seventeenth-century debate about the immateriality of the soul, the nature of space, and the spirit of God. Central to this debate was Henry More (1614 - 1687), a Cambridge Platonist philosopher now largely forgotten, but prominent in his lifetime.

In this lecture, Mr. Onsi Kamel will explore More's defense of traditional metaphysics against Cartesianism. This will both illuminate how intellectual change results as much from ideas failing as it does them succeeding, and explore the origin of a key shift within modernity: moving from an analogical understanding of God to a univocal one.

Onsi (1)

Mr. Onsi Kamel

MA, University of Chicago

Editor-in-Chief of The Davenant Press and Ad Fontes

Mr. Kamel's writing has appeared in the Scottish Journal of Theology, Ad Fontes, and Mere Orthodoxy, as well as his own regular newsletter, The New Philosophy.


The Davenant Institute seeks to retrieve the riches of classical Protestantism in order to renew and build up the contemporary church.