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When Science and Christianity Meet Paperback – October 29, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Taken together, these papers provide a comprehensive survey of current thinking on key issues in the relationships between science and religion, pitched - as the editors intended - at just the right level to appeal to students." - Peter J. Bowler, Isis"

From the Inside Flap

Have science and Christianity been locked in mortal combat for the past 2000 years? Or has their relationship been one of peaceful coexistence, encouragement, and support? Both opinions have been vigorously defended, widely disseminated, and hotly debated. And both have been rejected by knowledgeable historians as unacceptable oversimplifications of the historical reality.

This book steps back from those debates, abandoning, for the present, the attempt to formulate or defend generalizations of such breadth and scope. Its authors believe that every encounter had its own peculiar shape and that each must be examined uniquely before broader attempts at generalization are likely to succeed. This book, in language accessible to the general reader, investigates twelve of the most notorious, most interesting, and most instructive cases, aiming to tell each story in its historical specificity and local particularity.

Among the episodes treated in When Science and Christianity Meet are the Galileo affair, the 17th-century clockwork universe, Noah's ark and flood in the development of natural history, struggles over Darwinian evolution, debates about the origin of the human species, and the Scopes trial. Readers will be introduced to St. Augustine, Roger Bacon, Pope Urban VIII, Isaac Newton, Pierre-Simon de Laplace, Carl Linnaeus, Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley, Sigmund Freud, and many other participants in the historical drama of science and Christianity.

Contributors:
*William B. Ashworth Jr.
*Thomas H. Broman
*Janet Browne
*Mott T. Greene
*Edward J. Larson
*David C. Lindberg
*David N. Livingstone
*Robert Bruce Mullin
*G. Blair Nelson
*Ronald L. Numbers
*Jon H. Roberts
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226482162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226482163
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
`When Science and Christianity Meet' edited by David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers is a collection of essays discussing the historic intersection of religion and science within the Western Judeo-Christian framework. In many ways it represents a sequel to their earlier anthology of related issues, God and Nature published in 1986.

Within the history of science field there are several broad explanatory theses that provide a lens to examine the religion-science relationship. At one end of the spectrum there is the view of conflict wherein the two domains are seen contradictory at a fundamentally level. While at the other extreme, there is the opinion that science and religion are by definition mutually supportive. The essays in the present text, while skewed toward the latter view, are generally balanced and appropriately nuanced.

Overall, this is a nice collection of papers. As with any anthology some contributions are more helpful than others - this will in significant part depend on the reader's interests. For my money, Lindberg's discussion of the Galileo affair and Larson's overview of the Scopes trial were particularly well done. Readers interested in these specific issues may find Lindberg's free audio lecture available on-line through the Faraday Institute and Larson's award winning book "Summer of the Gods" worth a look.

I recommend this book for readers interested in the history of science and its interactions with religion. The hard cover edition is good value for money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm in the middle of a study at seminary of the relations of science and faith and found this book a refreshing breather after more "weighty" tomes in the philosophy and history of science.

Many of the essays put a human face on the intricate relation of science and Christian faith. Rather than try for grand statements of conflict or coherence between the two, the short vignettes highlight specific times, places, and individuals in their human particularity. In every case, local factors and personalities reveal a much more complex and fascinating human story than later simplifications. It is particularly fascinating to see how Christian faith often motivated scientific discovery that in turn motivated faith. What we retroactively label conflicts between science and religion were as often struggles *within* the scientific community and the Christian community and within the individuals involved. "We must never forget that it is people who do the believing, the speaking, the teaching, and the battling." [3]

Not all of the essays are equally enjoyable. Unfortunately Ron Numbers' concluding essay seemed lackluster, perhaps for making the most general claims. But, as another reviewer already noted, the essays on the Galileo and Scopes trials are great, particularly for those who've only heard "popular" accounts or watched movies (e.g. Inherit the Wind). I also particularly enjoyed Janet Browne's article on Noah's Ark and the development of modern geology as well as G. Blair Nelson's article on "Men Before Adam!" -- i.e. the 19th Century debates over the origins of the races and the history of humanity prior to the creation of Adam and Eve.

I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for tasty bite-size chunks of history, and a more human-level view of the "entangled" relation of science and faith.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was required reading for one of my graduate school courses on the history and philosophy of science. I expected it to be quite dull...but I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting, well-written and well-organized the material actually is. This is one I will keep in my permanent collection.

A lot of historical myth surrounds the history of science and it's relationship to religious thought. This book does an excellent job of clarifying that relationship and educating the reader about better angles from which to consider it.
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Format: Paperback
This book is more a supplement to Lindberg and Numbers' "God and Nature" than a replacement and is well worth readding too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting perspective on the very diverse history of the many attempts to reconcile the current scientific view of different times with the predominant religious views of that culture. The cognitive dissonance experienced by the conflicts led to much writing, debate, and oddly enough also to advances in science. This is an good read for those interested in the history of science.
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