"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