Johann Jakob Scheuchzer

Johann Jakob Scheuchzer. Geestelyke natuurkunde [Physica Sacra]. Amsterdam, 1735.

Johann Jakob Scheuchzer. Geestelyke natuurkunde [Physica Sacra]. Amsterdam, 1735.

Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672-1733) was a professor of mathematics and a polymath with a particular interest in fossils. His monumental Physica Sacra (1731-35) is a detailed explication of events in the Bible in terms of physics, medicine, and natural history. The work is so profusely illustrated with copper-plate engravings that it became known as the copper-plate bible. Each illustration references a specific book, chapter and verse of the 1611 edition of the King James Bible. Scheuchzer's grudging recognition that fossils were the remains of sea animals and that the biblical time frame needed extension was a step on the way to Lyell and Darwin.