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Leibniz on the Trinity and the IncarnationReason and Revelation in the Seventeenth Century$
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Maria Rosa Antognazza

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100747

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100747.001.0001

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The Case of Freke: On the Mathematical Method in Theology

The Case of Freke: On the Mathematical Method in Theology

(p.111) 9 The Case of Freke: On the Mathematical Method in Theology
Leibniz on the Trinity and the Incarnation

Maria Rosa Antognazza

Yale University Press

In December 1693, a little book caused a furor when the English Parliament ordered to have it burned and launched a search for the author, the printers, and the publishers. The controversial book, divided into two parts, was written by William Freke, an Antitrinitarian, and it was entitled A Dialogue By Way of Question and Answer, Concerning the Deity. All the Responses being taken verbatim out of the Scriptures and A Brief, but Clear Confutation of the Doctrine of the Trinity. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz obtained a copy of the pamphlet and made some reflections before sending it to Princess Electress Sophie. In his pamphlet, Freke argued that the Son and the Holy Spirit are angels, a departure from the Socinians who view the Holy Spirit as only one of God's virtues. In January 1694, Leibniz advised his nephew Friedrich Simon Löffler to confute Freke's pamphlet as the subject of his dissertation for his theological studies at the University of Leipzig in Germany. Löffler replied by telling Leibniz that he intended to conduct the confutation using a “mathematical method”.

Keywords:   mathematical method, William Freke, Trinity, Son, Holy Spirit, Socinians, God, Friedrich Simon Löffler

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