History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia

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First comprehensive survey in the field

The debate over evolution's place in the school science curriculum in the United States illustrates the ongoing importance of the relationship between science and religion in the West. Surprisingly, however, that relationship has not always been a locus of contention. It has been varied and multifaceted, with religion oftentimes nurturing and encouraging scientific progress. For the first time, this relationship, which has gone on in some form perhaps since the dawn of history itself, is chronicled-through the analysis of intellectual movements, Western religious traditions, and the evolving manifestations of science.

A truly vast range of coverage

Reaching back to Greece in the fifth century B.C.E. and proceeding to the late twentieth century, this volume describes the relationship of science and religion throughout history. From ancient cosmology and medieval occult sciences to modern physics and psychology, every major intellectual movement and discipline of study is covered. There is also comprehensive coverage of the foundational aspects of the study of science and religion, with, for example, detailed discussions of the demarcation of science and religion, of epistemology, and of causation.

Coverage of scientists' religious concerns

Also included here are biographical studies of major scientific figures-among them Galileo, Newton, and Darwin-who were particularly concerned with the religious implications and dimensions of their scientific discoveries.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
When a publisher breaks new ground, comparisons are difficult; Garland's new encyclopedic work on science and religion has no peer. It is a collection of substantial and thoughtful articles by experts in the field, grouped under ten headings covering everything from the relationship of science and religion to the approaches taken by specific religious traditions, from alchemy to chemistry to materialism to spiritualism. Ferngren (history, Oregon State Univ.) and his coeditors take the stand that the historical relationship between science and religion follows a complex model rather than the popularly understood model of unalterable conflict. The result is a work, well worth reading through or browsing, that is filled with respect for the roles and methodologies of both religion and science. If anything is missing, it is in two areas. First, the biographical studies are limited to Galileo, Pascal, Newton, and Darwin; Copernicus is covered under "Copernican Revolution." Surely there were others who might be worthy of biographical essays. Second, in the coverage of individual religious traditions, an article on the Baha'i religion should have been included, since it is the only religion in the Western Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition with an explicit scriptural principle holding that religion and science are partnered modes of knowing and that any religion not in accord with established science is superstition. All the same, this encyclopedia is well worth the price. Recommended for all academic and public libraries and for collections on theology and on the history of science.William P. Collins, Library of Congress Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gary B. Ferngren is Professor of History at Oregon State University, where he has taught since 1970. He holds a Ph.D. (1973) from the University of British Columbia and has written extensively on the social history of ancient medicine, the history of medical ethics, and the historical relationship of religion and medicine.
Edward J. Larson is Richard B. Russell Professor of History and Law at the University of Georgia, Athens.
Darrel W. Amundsen is Professor of Classics at Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington.

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Table of Contents

Special features:

First major reference work on the relationship of science and religion. * Unique relevance for the quickly expanding number of courses on the subject in American universities. * Designed for scholars and lay persons who need an up-to-date guide to the field. * 103 articles, each containing a comprehensive bibliography. * Contributions by leading specialists in the field.

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