Sir Keith Thomas (Sir Keith Vivian Thomas) Biography
(1933– ), (Sir Keith Vivian Thomas), Religion and the Decline of Magic, Man and the Natural World
British historian, born in Wick, Glamorgan, educated at Balliol College, Oxford. Throughout his career he has taught at Oxford, where he became President of Corpus Christi in 1986 and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1988. Thomas is eminent among contemporary authorities on the social and intellectual history of England between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. In discerning developments from the superstitious culture of the Tudor period towards the era of scientific rationalism he draws on materials from a remarkable range of sources. His major works are Religion and the Decline of Magic (1971) and Man and the Natural World (1983), his widely read study of changing perceptions of nature between 1500 and 1800. Among his other publications is History and Literature (1988), in which he addresses the debate over the value of literary texts as resources for the historian. He was knighted in 1988.