Thomas Whittaker (metaphysician)

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Thomas Whittaker
Thomas Whittaker metaphysician.png
Born(1856-09-25)25 September 1856
Died 3 October 1935(1935-10-03) (aged 79)
Occupation Metaphysician, critic

Thomas Whittaker (1856–1935) was an English metaphysician and critic.

Metaphysics branch of philosophy

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between possibility and actuality. The word "metaphysics" comes from two Greek words that, together, literally mean "after or behind or among the [study of] the natural". It has been suggested that the term might have been coined by a first century CE editor who assembled various small selections of Aristotle’s works into the treatise we now know by the name Metaphysics.

Critic professional who makes a living communicating their opinions and assessments of various forms of creative work

A critic is a professional who communicates an assessment and an opinion of various forms of creative works such as art, literature, music, cinema, theater, fashion, architecture, and food. Critics may also take as their subject social or government policy. Critical judgments, whether derived from critical thinking or not, weigh up a range of factors, including an assessment of the extent to which the item under review achieves its purpose and its creator's intention and a knowledge of its context. They may also include a positive or negative personal response.



Whittaker was educated at Dublin Royal College of Science and Exeter College, Oxford. He was an editor of the journal Mind (1885-1891). [1] He won a Natural Science scholarship at Exeter College. From 1910 he was director of the Rationalist Press Association. [2]

Royal College of Science for Ireland

The Royal College of Science for Ireland (RCScI) was an institute for higher education in Dublin which existed from 1867 to 1926, specialising in physical sciences and applied science. It was originally based on St. Stephen's Green, moving in 1911 to a purpose-built "Royal College of Science" building on Merrion Street. In 1926 it was absorbed into University College Dublin (UCD) as the faculty of Science and Engineering.

Exeter College, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford

Exeter College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England and the fourth oldest college of the University.

<i>Mind</i> (journal) journal

Mind is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association. Having previously published exclusively philosophy in the analytic tradition, it now "aims to take quality to be the sole criterion of publication, with no area of philosophy, no style of philosophy, and no school of philosophy excluded." Its institutional home is shared between the University of Oxford and University College London.

Whittaker was an advocate of the Christ myth theory. [3] [4] He was influenced by the writings of Willem Christiaan van Manen and J. M. Robertson. [5]

Christ myth theory opinion that biblical Jesus was purely fictional

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Willem Christiaan van Manen Dutch theologian

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J. M. Robertson British politician

John Mackinnon Robertson was a prolific journalist, advocate of rationalism and secularism, and Liberal Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom for Tyneside from 1906 to 1918. Robertson was best known as an advocate of the Christ myth theory.


He wrote several lives for the Dictionary of National Biography , signing as T. W-r.

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Thomas Bedwell was an English mathematician and military engineer.

William Bewley (1726–83) was an English physician.

John Bonnycastle was an English teacher of mathematics and author.

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<i>The Denial of the Historicity of Jesus in Past and Present</i>

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  1. Gould, Frederick James. (1929). The Pioneers of Johnson's Court: A History of the Rationalist Press Association From 1899 Onwards. Watts. p. 54
  2. Anonymous. (1935). Obituary: Mr. Thomas Whittaker. Metaphysician and Critic. The Times. October 4. p. 16
  3. McCabe, Joseph. (1950). A Rationalist Encyclopaedia: A Book of Reference on Religion, Philosophy, Ethics, and Science. Watts. p. 334. "In England the philosophic writer T. Whittaker, and L. G. Rylands, supported Robertson in denying the historicity of Jesus."
  4. Hawton, Hector. (1971). Controversy: The Humanist/Christian Encounter. Pemberton Books. p. 173. ISBN   978-0301710211
  5. Johnston, G. A. (1916). Reviewed Work: The Origins of Christianity, with an Outline of Van Manen's Analysis of the Pauline Literature by Van Manen, Thomas Whittaker. International Journal of Ethics 26 (3): 428-429.

Further reading