Renato G. Mazzolini

Theological Advocates of the Unity of the Human Species (1815-1853)

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During the fi rst half of the nineteenth century, three scientifi c research areas stirred the interest of theologians: geology, comparative philology, and anthropology. In this paper, a specifi c aspect of the latter topic is addressed: the advocacy by both Catholic and Protestant ministers of the unity of the human species against those authors who maintained that human races were different species with separate origins. By referring to the works of John Bird Sumner and Nicholas Wiseman (United Kingdom), John Bachman and Thomas Smyth (United States), François-Louis-Michel Maupied, and Louis-François Jéhan (France) it will be shown that these ministers defended the ancient doctrine of the unity of the human species not only with theological arguments but also with scientifi c and cultural ones.

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