Jessica Otis publishes book on the history of numeracy in early modern England

Jessica Otis publishes book on the history of numeracy in early modern England

Dr. Jessica Otis, Assistant Professor of History at George Mason University, has written a book titled, “By the Numbers:  Numeracy, Religion, and the Quantitative Transformation of Early Modern England.” The book will be published by Oxford University Press in January 2024.
Keith Wrightson, a historian at Yale University, calls Otis’ book an “illuminating study” that “provides a pathbreaking account of the characteristics of early modern numeracy and of the dynamics of change." Amir Alexander of UCLA writes, "Jessica Otis's brilliant study brings to light a hidden subterranean stream that runs beneath the surface reality of early modern England. By revealing the quiet growth and evolution of popular numeracy over the span of two centuries, Otis adds a new dimension to our understanding of every other aspect of this period." 
The publisher’s website provides the following description of the book:

“During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, English numerical practices underwent a complex transformation with wide-ranging impacts on English society. At the beginning of the early modern period, English men and women believed that God had made humans universally numerate, although numbers were not central to their everyday lives. Over the next two centuries, rising literacy rates and the increasing availability of printed books revolutionized modes of arithmetical practice and education. Ordinary English people began to use numbers and quantification to explain abstract phenomena as diverse as the relativity of time, the probability of chance events, and the constitution of human populations. These changes reflected their participation in broader early modern European cultural and intellectual developments such as the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. By the eighteenth century, English men and women still believed they lived in a world made by God, but it was also a world made--and made understandable--by numbers.”