“Francis Bacon and the Progress of Knowledge”

Vickers, B. “Francis Bacon and the Progress of Knowledge.” Journal of the History of Ideas 53, no. 3 (1992): 495–518.

First Page: “One of the most famous images in English Renaissance literature is the engraved title page  to Bacon’s Instauratio Magna, showing the ship of learning sailing back through the” pillars of Hercules”-the straits of Gibraltar which traditionally marked the limits of human knowledge of the world-returning from the open seas, bringing with it new ideas and discoveries.  Underneath the engraving is a quotation from the Book of Daniel (12:4) in the Latin Vulgate: Multi pertransibunt et augebitur scientia.  Bacon adopted this quotation as his own, giving it a rather personal interpretation, as he explained when using it for the first time in chapter 1 of Valerius Terminus, entitled “of the limits and of knowledge.”  Here he writes that although the highest “law of nature” is reserved for God, the inferior levels of knowledge are still “many and noble,” and are within man’s sounding.”