Henry More

1614-1687. English philosopher and poet. Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he was one of the more famous members of a seventeenth-century group of English ministers, moralists, and scholars known as the Cambridge Platonists.* At Cambridge he was elected to a fellowship at Christ's College, where he remained until his death. Heavily influenced by Joseph Mede,* More rejected a rigorous Calvinism and read widely in Aristotle and the Scholastics. However, he felt they did not give a satisfactory explanation of the relationship of the soul to God, so he turned to mysticism and Neoplatonism. He came to believe that knowledge of the eternal was dependent on moral perfection achieved through subduing egoism. On this basis he tried to defend Christianity against its greatest “enemies”: atheism, Roman Catholicism, and “enthusiasm.” His writings include An Antidote Against Atheism (1653); Conjectura Cabbalistica (1653); A Brief Discourse of the Nature, Causes, Kinds and Cure of Enthusiasm (1656); The Grand Mystery of Godliness (1660); and An Antidote Against Idolatry (1674).

See R.L. Colie, Light and Enlightenment: A Study of the Cambridge Platonists and the Dutch Arminians (1957).