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The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    Change your perspective of the Middle Ages

    This thoroughly engaging and evocative book is perspective-changing. For those of us who have always equated the Middle Ages with the "Dark Ages", Dr. Hannam's concise writing details the discoveries, personalities and stories refuting that notion. He charts the evolution of scientific thought from the Fall of Rome through the dawn of the Renaissance with a comfortable balance of scholarship and storytelling. The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution also explores the role of the Catholic Church in promoting this evolution. In fact, he makes a very strong case for the positive influence of religious thought. Overall, the language and linear nature of this writing make it both accessible and enjoyable for laypeople. Hannam charts the progress of what would form modern scientific thought through the Middle Ages. Readers may be surprised by the depth of contributions from the period. Familiar names such as Aristotle, Aquinas and Copernicus mix with the less familiar such as Buridan, Oresme and Gilbert. Readers get a taste of the intrigue of the times, lending spice to some difficult concepts. Throughout the book Hannam exercises restraint in not delving too deeply into the complex. He presents a well-reasoned argument for the respect due this long-dismissed period.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Good read but a little biased

    Hannam makes the argument that the development in philosophical thinking and study of the natural world in the middle ages is the cornerstone on which science was built during the later “scientific revolution” and that the role of the Catholic Church and medieval philosophy in the development of science is undervalued today. Hannam is a fantastic writer, in that he provides an engrossing history of the middle ages—especially providing interesting biosketches of the important philosophers of the time. Therefore, I recommend this book to popular readers of medieval history, history of science, or church history. However, Hannam’s book is not thorough enough to be considered a good academic history. He tends to provide the most interesting stories, ignoring the fact that some of his stories are controversial. Hannam also has a slightly defensive tone about the role of the Catholic Church during the middle ages. To most popular readers, I think the shortcomings of this book can be ignored, since it is a smooth and interesting read.

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    Posted November 8, 2011

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    Posted July 5, 2011

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