Christian mysticE.Swedenborg is today considered as the originator of the nebular hypothesis. His position to Newtons theory of gravitation was in his own words: "an absurdity" and "a mere abstraction ".
Laplace(1749-1827) and Kant(1724-1804) developed independently their speculations on the origin of our solar system. According to this 'nebular hypothesis' our solar system evolved out of a gaseous nebula, which contracted under gravitational forces. It started thereby to rotate (?!) and became flat in this process. After the forming of a first nucleus of the sun gaseous rings should have remained which later formed out to the planets.
Basis for these speculations were the at this time detected nebula by comet-hunter Messier and the descriptions of galaxies and our Milkyway by Herschel. Herschel did describe our galaxy as formed as a millstone.
Laplace (and Kant also) was wrong in that he didn't knew that the rotation of Venus is retrograde and Uranus revolves 98 degree tilted.
Later the nebular hypothesis was transformed into the protoplanetary hypothesis.
If you simulate this scenario in computers quite naturally absolutely nothing starts to rotate and there is absolutely no reason why this cloud should flatten. The cloud simply collapses. Even stranger is the idea that planets could form on the outer parts of the cloud.
If you are further interested in this nebula here some links:
http://www.wbabin.net/physics/abruzzo7.pdf very comprehensive, starts with the greeks
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebular_hypothesis todays view, no comment