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002_schott_magia_universali, 1657.jpg

Jesuit scientific writing during the second half of the seventeenth century was dominated by the work of Athanasius Kircher and his followers. Kircher wrote on an astonishingly wide range of scientific subjects, including medicine, acoustics, geology, astronomy, and mathematics. Although Kircher's philosophy - a blend of science and superstition combining empirical observation with magical and religious elements - seems strange to modern eyes, it was seriously noted and discussed by many eminent scientists of the time including Descartes, Boyle, and Leibniz. Although not in the mainstream of the seventeenth-century scientific thought, the works of Kircher and his Jesuit contemporaries typify the complexity and diversity of scientific writing of the period.