Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction

JHU Press
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Written by distinguished historians of science and religion, the thirty essays in this volume survey the relationship of Western religious traditions to science from the beginning of the Christian era to the late twentieth century. This wide-ranging collection also introduces a variety of approaches to understanding their intersection, suggesting a model not of inalterable conflict, but of complex interaction.

Tracing the rise of science from its birth in the medieval West through the scientific revolution, the contributors describe major shifts that were marked by discoveries such as those of Copernicus, Galileo, and Isaac Newton and the Catholic and Protestant reactions to them. They assess changes in scientific understanding brought about by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century transformations in geology, cosmology, and biology, together with the responses of both mainstream religious groups and such newer movements as evangelicalism and fundamentalism. The book also treats the theological implications of contemporary science and evaluates recent approaches such as environmentalism, gender studies, social construction, and postmodernism, which are at the center of current debates in the historiography, understanding, and application of science.

Contributors: Colin A. Russell, David B. Wilson, Edward Grant, David C. Lindberg, Alnoor Dhanani, Owen Gingerich, Richard J. Blackwell, Edward B. Davis, Michael P. Winship, John Henry, Margaret J. Osler, Richard S. Westfall, John Hedley Brooke, Nicolaas A. Rupke, Peter M. Hess, James Moore, Peter J. Bowler, Ronald L. Numbers, Steven J. Harris, Mark A. Noll, Edward J. Larson, Richard Olson, Craig Sean McConnell, Robin Collins, William A. Dembski, David N. Livingstone, Sara Miles, and Stephen P. Weldon.

-- Fraser F. Fleming
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About the author

Gary B. Ferngren is a professor of history at Oregon State University and general editor of The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia.

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Additional Information

Publisher
JHU Press
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Published on
Jun 17, 2013
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9781421412825
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / General
Science / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Medicine and Religion is the first book to comprehensively examine the relationship between medicine and religion in the Western tradition from ancient times to the modern era. Beginning with the earliest attempts to heal the body and account for the meaning of illness in the ancient Near East, historian Gary B. Ferngren describes how the polytheistic religions of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome and the monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have complemented medicine in the ancient, medieval, and modern periods.

Ferngren paints a broad and detailed portrait of how humans throughout the ages have drawn on specific values of diverse religious traditions in caring for the body. Religious perspectives have informed both the treatment of disease and the provision of health care. And, while tensions have sometimes existed, relations between medicine and religion have often been cooperative and mutually beneficial.

Religious beliefs provided a framework for explaining disease and suffering that was larger than medicine alone could offer. These beliefs furnished a theological basis for a compassionate care of the sick that led to the creation of the hospital and a long tradition of charitable medicine.

Praise for Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity, by Gary B. Ferngren

"This fine work looks forward as well as backward; it invites fuller reflection of the many senses in which medicine and religion intersect and merits wide readership."— JAMA

"An important book, for students of Christian theology who understand health and healing to be topics of theological interest, and for health care practitioners who seek a historical perspective on the development of the ethos of their vocation."— Journal of Religion and Health

A good book may have the power to change the way we see the world, but a great book actually becomes part of our daily consciousness, pervading our thinking to the point that we take it for granted, and we forget how provocative and challenging its ideas once were—and still are. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is that kind of book. When it was first published in 1962, it was a landmark event in the history and philosophy of science. Fifty years later, it still has many lessons to teach.

With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.

This new edition of Kuhn’s essential work in the history of science includes an insightful introduction by Ian Hacking, which clarifies terms popularized by Kuhn, including paradigm and incommensurability, and applies Kuhn’s ideas to the science of today. Usefully keyed to the separate sections of the book, Hacking’s introduction provides important background information as well as a contemporary context. Newly designed, with an expanded index, this edition will be eagerly welcomed by the next generation of readers seeking to understand the history of our perspectives on science.
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