London: Printed for Nathaniel Thompson... 1680. First edition. Title-page in black and red. Full-page woodcut chart on p. 145. Crease in title-page and last leaf of text, a little light browning. A very good copy. Contemporary calf, expertly rebackd, with old spine laid down. Folio. , 243, [1, blank] pp. Item #15999
Blount (1653-1693) was one of the leading deists of his time. He published the first of his major works, Anima Mundi in 1678 or 1679. It is an essay on pagan doctrines about the nature of the human soul and its destiny in the afterlife, drawing heavily on Montaigne and similar authors. His Philostratus consists largely of his own notes to Philostratus, with roughly four pages of Blount to one of Philostratus. His commentary draws attention to analogies between Christ and Apollonius of Tyana, the miracle working mystic (or sham magician) Greek philosopher born just before Christ. John Leland in his View of the Principal Deistical Writers (1754) notes that Blount's work was "manifestly intended to strike at revealed religion." Justin A.I. Champion in The Dictionary of Seventeenth-Century British Philosophers notes: "The classical texts with, with its parallel between the life of the magus Apollonius and Christ, was problematic enough; the inclusion of a digest of skeptical materialist, and irreligious material unencumbered with warnings of heterodoxy was to provide a provocative and dangerous resource to the literature public. There were consequently moves to have the work suppressed and even burnt."