Sir Thomas Browne

1605-1682. Physician and writer. Graduate of Oxford, he traveled widely before settling in Norwich in 1637. In 1642 he published Religio Medici-a highly original attempt to work out a religious outlook in an increasingly scientific age. He asserts the right to examine nature which has much to reveal about God. With regard to the apparent contradictions between revealed faith and scientific truth he oscillates between acceptance by simple faith and explanation of the scriptural narrative by way of allegory. In his Pseudodoxia Epidemica he tried to separate scientific truth from the myths which had accumulated over the centuries. He wrote with vividness and feeling and did not allow himself to be confined to any one area of knowledge. In 1658 he produced Hydriotaphia, or Urn-Burial, which was a learned and fascinating study of burial in many countries. By now his encyclopedic knowledge had attracted considerable attention in scientific and antiquarian circles, and he was knighted when Charles II visited Norwich in 1671. Published after his death were Certain Miscellany Tracts (1683), A Letter to a Friend upon the Occasion of the Death of an Intimate Friend (1690), and Christian Morals (1716).