Craig, John

, a learned mathematician, was a native of Scotland, in the seventeenth century, and well known for many papers recorded in the Philosophical | Transactions, and in the Acta Eruditorum. He had a controversy with Bernouilli, in which Leibnitz took the part of Craig. He made his name, however, famous chiefly by a pamphlet of 36 pages, 4to, entitled “Theologise Christianae prinfcipia mathematica,” printed at London in 1699, and reprinted at Leipsic in 1755, with a preface upon the life and works of Craig. The author calculates the force and diminution of the probability of things. He establishes, as his fundamental proposition, that whatever we believe upon the testimony of men, inspired or uninspired, is nothing more thau probable. He then proceeds to suppose, that this probability diminishes in proportion as the distance of time from this testimony increases: and, by means of algebraical calculations, he finds at length, that the probability of the Christian religion will last only 1454 years from the date of his book; but will be nothing afterwards, unless Jesus Christ should prevent the annihilation of it by his second coming, as he prevented the annihilation of the Jewish religion by his first coming. Some in Germany and France have seriously refuted these learned reveries. The time of his death is not known. 1


Last edition of this Dictionary. Rees’s Cyclopædia.