The Vanity of Dogmatizing by Joseph Glanvill

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Bibliographic Note

The Vanity of Dogmatizing, the first work of Joseph Glanvill to

be printed, was published in 1661. It probably appeared around March

of that year since the dedicatory epistle, which also gives some

account of its composition, is dated March 1, 1660. (In those days

the year began on 25th March; so 1 March 1660 by Glanvill's reckoning

is 1 March 1661 by ours.)

The second edition is entitled Scepsis scientifica: or, Confest

ignorance the way to science . . . (&c.), and is dated 1665, though

it was presented to the Royal Society in December 1664.

The two editions are much the same except for some

rearrangements, minor stylistic changes, and slight omissions and

additions. Of these omissions, the one of most general interest is

the story on which Matthew Arnold based his Scholar-Gypsy. The

second edition does not contain the dedicatory epistle addressed to

Joseph Mynard, the Preface to the reader (a part of which, however,

was recast to form chapter III of the Scepsis), or the three

commendatory verses. In place of these the Scepsis Scientifica

contains the long dedicatory epistle addressed to the Royal Society.

Following the main treatise in the Scepsis scientifica there is

added a reply to Thomas White's Sciri, sine sceptices & scepticorum

a jure disputations exclusio (1663), which had attacked The Vanity

of Dogmatizing.

The final version of The Vanity of Dogmatizing is that in

Glanvill's Essays on Several Important Subjects in Philosophy and

Religion (1676). The first essay in this volume, Against confidence

in philosophy, and matters of speculation, is in the main a reprint

of the principal discourse as it appeared in the Scepsis

Scientifica, with further omissions and slight rearrangements. The

essay begins with the third chapter of The Vanity of Dogmatizing

(the fourth of the Scepsis Scientifica), the dropping of these

preliminary chapters being the only alteration in material of any

consequence. Of decided importance, however, are the stylistic

changes, which are complete and thoroughgoing.

This edition has been created by combining the full text of the

second edition (taken from an 1885 reprint by Kegan Paul, Trench &

Co.) with the dedicatory epistle, introduction, three poetical

testimonials and the story of the Scholar-Gypsy, in the first

edition (taken from a facsimile published by the Facsimile Text

Society, 1931). The spelling has been modernized.

The Dedicatory Epistle

To the reverend my ever honoured friend, Mr. JOSEPH MYNARD,

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