Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 8 >> Cromer to Curves Of Double Curvature >> Cudworth


cambridge, ralph and college

CUDWORTH, Ralph, English clergyman and philosopher : b. Aller, Somerset, 1617; d. Cambridge, 26 June 1688. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and became an eminent tutor. He was subsequently appointed rector of North Cadbury, Somerset, and in 1642 published a 'Discourse Concerning the True Nature of the Lord's Supper,' and 'The Union of Christ and the Church Shadowed, or in a The first of these productions, which maintained that the Lord's Supper is a feast upon a sacrifice, produced considerable contro versy long after the author's death. In 1644 he was chosen master of Clare Hall, and in the following year was made regius professor of Hebrew. In 1654 he was chosen master of Christ's College, Cambridge, where he spent the remainder of his days. In 1678 he published his grand work, entitled 'The True Intellectual System of the Universe, the First Part, Wherein All the Reason and Philosophy of Atheism is Confuted, and Its Impossibility Demonstrated.) It is a work of great power

and erudition, although the attachment of the author to the Platonism of the Alexandrian school has led him to advance some opinions which border on incomprehensibility and mys ticism. It champions the innate character of moral ideas which are held to cognize the objective reality of good and evil with the same accuracy which characterizes our geometrical knowledge. Selections appear in Selby-Bigge's 'British Moralists) (1897). Consult Martineau, 'Ts of Ethical (Vol. II, Oxford 1898); ; Lowrey, 'The Philosophy of Ralph Cud worth) (New York 1885) ; Birch, 'Life,) in the edition of Cudworth's works (1743; reprinted 1820), and the preface to Mosbeitn's Latin translation of Cudworth's works (1733); Seth, 'English Philosophers and Schools of Philoso phy) (1912).