Lambert Daneau

Lambert Daneau (1530-95) is, for historians of science and theology, one of the most important first generation Calvinist theologians. He was a professor of theology at Geneva and briefly held the chair of theology at the then newly founded University of Leiden. He had been educated by Calvin himself.

He is best remembered for creating a systematization of Calvinist ethics. These moral writings claimed that the foundations of Roman and Greek moral theories were useless because of the Fall of Adam. For Daneau, Moral philosophy instead needed to be grounded in what God had revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

Similarly, Daneau also argued that natural philosophy (i.e., early modern science) must be founded upon an understanding of Scripture. Thus, Danaeu held that the scientific ambitions of pagans such as Aristotle and their adherents were completely misguided because of a lack of knowledge about the Fall.

In 1578 Thomas Twyne translated Daneu’s Physica Christiana (Christian Physics) into English as Wonderfull Woorkmanship. This work is a form of Mosaic philosophy, also known as Christian or Pious philosophy. Mosaic philosophy based natural philosophy on Christian theology. ^[1]^

Further reading


  1. ? Peter Harrison. The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science. Cambridge University Press, 2007. pages 107-108.