The course studies the relationship between science and religion from the thirteenth to twentieth centuries. Are they incompatible, independent, compatible, or cooperative? How have they come to be seen as metaphysically distinct? We will survey various scholarly theses about this issue and examine the senses in which "science" could encompass the overlapping concerns of theology and natural philosophy in centuries past, and then turn our attention to the ways that science has become a form of knowledge that occasionally challenges religious precepts and has motivated shifts in both the modes of theology and the functions of church institutions in the modern period. How did individuals of diverse scholarly communities and confessions read and write scientific texts and produce scientific knowledge? Did modern scientific institutions displace earlier scholarly practices entirely, or do they retain certain aspects? What were the specifically disciplinary challenges to religious belief as the concepts and institutions of science expanded? We will investigate these questions primarily with respect to Western Christianity (Catholic and eventually Protestant), but with occasional comparisons to Eastern Christianity and Islam, as well as consideration of the relevance of unbelief.
- Teacher: Karl Hall