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
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.
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
Ferngren first describes how early Christians understood disease. He examines the relationship of early Christian medicine to the natural and supernatural modes of healing found in the Bible. Despite biblical accounts of demonic possession and miraculous healing, Ferngren argues that early Christians generally accepted naturalistic assumptions about disease and cared for the sick with medical knowledge gleaned from the Greeks and Romans.
Ferngren also explores the origins of medical philanthropy in the early Christian church. Rather than viewing illness as punishment for sins, early Christians believed that the sick deserved both medical assistance and compassion. Even as they were being persecuted, Christians cared for the sick within and outside of their community. Their long experience in medical charity led to the creation of the first hospitals, a singular Christian contribution to health care.