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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Gary B. Ferngren
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

Andrew Dickson White
Among those masses of cathedral sculpture which preserve so much of medieval theology, one frequently recurring group is noteworthy for its presentment of a time-honoured doctrine regarding the origin of the universe.

The Almighty, in human form, sits benignly, making the sun, moon, and stars, and hanging them from the solid firmament which supports the "heaven above" and overarches the "earth beneath."

The furrows of thought on the Creator's brow show that in this work he is obliged to contrive; the knotted muscles upon his arms show that he is obliged to toil; naturally, then, the sculptors and painters of the medieval and early modern period frequently represented him as the writers whose conceptions they embodied had done—as, on the seventh day, weary after thought and toil, enjoying well-earned repose and the plaudits of the hosts of heaven.

In these thought-fossils of the cathedrals, and in other revelations of the same idea through sculpture, painting, glass-staining, mosaic work, and engraving, during the Middle Ages and the two centuries following, culminated a belief which had been developed through thousands of years, and which has determined the world's thought until our own time.

Its beginnings lie far back in human history; we find them among the early records of nearly all the great civilizations, and they hold a most prominent place in the various sacred books of the world. In nearly all of them is revealed the conception of a Creator of whom man is an imperfect image, and who literally and directly created the visible universe with his hands and fingers.

Among these theories, of especial interest to us are those which controlled theological thought in Chaldea. The Assyrian inscriptions which have been recently recovered and given to the English-speaking peoples by Layard, George Smith, Sayce, and others, show that in the ancient religions of Chaldea and Babylonia there was elaborated a narrative of the creation which, in its most important features, must have been the source of that in our own sacred books. It has now become perfectly clear that from the same sources which inspired the accounts of the creation of the universe among the Chaldeo-Babylonian, the Assyrian, the Phoenician, and other ancient civilizations came the ideas which hold so prominent a place in the sacred books of the Hebrews. In the two accounts imperfectly fused together in Genesis, and also in the account of which we have indications in the book of Job and in the Proverbs, there, is presented, often with the greatest sublimity, the same early conception of the Creator and of the creation—the conception, so natural in the childhood of civilization, of a Creator who is an enlarged human being working literally with his own hands, and of a creation which is "the work of his fingers." To supplement this view there was developed the belief in this Creator as one who, having ... "from his ample palm Launched forth the rolling planets into space." sits on high, enthroned "upon the circle of the heavens," perpetually controlling and directing them.

Thomas S. Kuhn
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.
Gary B. Ferngren
Since its publication in 2002, Science and Religion has proven to be a widely admired survey of the complex relationship of Western religious traditions to science from the beginning of the Christian era to the late twentieth century. In the second edition, eleven new essays expand the scope and enhance the analysis of this enduringly popular book.

Tracing the rise of science from its birth in the medieval West through the scientific revolution, the contributors here assess historical changes in scientific understanding brought about by transformations in physics, anthropology, and the neurosciences and major shifts marked by the discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and others. In seeking to appreciate the intersection of scientific discovery and the responses of religious groups, contributors also explore the theological implications of contemporary science and evaluate approaches such as the Bible in science and the modern synthesis in evolution, which are at the center of debates in the historiography, understanding, and application of science.

The second edition provides chapters that have been revised to reflect current scholarship along with new chapters that bring fresh perspectives on a diverse range of topics, including new scientific approaches and disciplines and non-Christian traditions such as Judaism, Islam, Asiatic religions, and atheism. This indispensible classroom guide is now more useful than ever before.

Contributors: Richard J. Blackwell, Peter J. Bowler, John Hedley Brooke, Glen M. Cooper, Edward B. Davis, Alnoor Dhanani, Diarmid A. Finnegan, Noah Efron, Owen Gingerich, Edward Grant, Steven J. Harris, Matthew S. Hedstrom, John Henry, Peter M. Hess, Edward J. Larsen, Timothy Larson, David C. Lindberg, David N. Livingstone, Craig Martin, Craig Sean McConnell, James Moore, Joshua M. Moritz, Mark A. Noll, Ronald L. Numbers, Richard Olson, Christopher M. Rios, Nicolaas A. Rupke, Michael H. Shank, Stephen David Snobelen, John Stenhouse, Peter J. Susalla, Mariusz Tabaczek, Alan C. Weissenbacher, Stephen P. Weldon, and Tomoko Yoshida

Gary B. Ferngren
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

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