Instructors: György Geréby (Office hours TBA)
Karl Hall (Office hours: Mondays 14:30-15:30 and by appointment)
Time: Tuesdays, 10:50-12:30
Location: QS D-212
Course description: The course studies the relationship between science and religion from antiquity through the modern period. 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 doctrines. How did individuals of diverse scholarly communities and confessions read and write scientific texts and produce scientific knowledge? 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 the Western tradition, including the Hellenistic period, Christianity (Catholic, Protestant and eventually Orthodoxy), but with occasional comparisons to Islam.
Course goals: We aim to read and analyze texts that enable us to understand scientific and religious concepts in interaction. In studying the tropes of conflict, mutual isolation, and reconciliation, we will investigate the argumentative and rhetorical strategies of religious and scientific figures, and in the modern period, we will also see how the historical sciences themselves became participants in, and not just chroniclers of, these encounters.
Learning outcomes: Students will gain familiarity with Hellenistic, medieval and modern conceptions of science and religion, with the evolving bounds of knowledge in medieval and modern science, and with the methods, sources, leading figures, and institutional contexts that have informed the science-religion relationship.
Advanced certificates: May be applied to the Religious Studies advanced certificate.
Requirements and assessment: The grade is based on one class presentation [15%], two times serving as discussion leader [10% + 10%], a review essay [50%], and general class participation [15%].
Note on class presentations: For purposes of this course, a presentation is neither a formal mini-lecture nor a PowerPoint slide show, but rather an exercise in accountability. Whereas a discussion leader will only be responsible for assigned texts, the class presentation may require modest additional preparation. Decisions about scope will be determined by student interests in prior consultation with the instructors, but will likely be driven by a given session topic.
Review essay due December 20. Topic should be chosen in consultation with the instructors. Length: 8-9 pages double-spaced.
Regular attendance is mandatory in all classes. A student who misses more than two units (two 100-minute sessions) in any 2 or 4 credit class without a verified reason beyond the student's control must submit an 8-10 page paper assigned by the professor, which as a rule covers the material in the class missed. The paper is due no later than 3 weeks after the missed class.
- Zoom procedures
In contrast to last year, our expectation is that most instruction will take place face-to-face. But we will attempt to remain in hybrid mode to accommodate anyone with visa or Covid-related obstacles to attendance. Please note that attendance online is not a matter of convenience for those able to attend in person. (Sleeping late is not sufficient grounds to attend online!) Eligible students may access course sessions via this Zoom link.
As a matter of courtesy and a sign of engagement, please keep your video on at least half of the time. It is generally wise to mute your audio, but you can preemptively unmute in anticipation of speaking. You can also indicate your readiness to intervene by using the "Chat" function.
When the instructor or student presenter is sharing slides, Zoom generally takes over the entire screen. Click on "View Options" at the top of the screen and choose "Exit Full Screen." You can then adjust the window to suit your purposes.
Holding a seminar online via Zoom presents special challenges to our collective participation and individual attention spans. If you are online, please stay "in the room" during the class. No scanning social media on the side!
This seems sufficient for our purposes, but if you would like more explicit guidelines, let us copy below the ones developed by our Political Science Department.For students participating in online sessions, please refer to the following guidelines to ensure a successful learning environment:1. Be polite and kind, respect yourself, respect others and respect the online environment.2. Remember that we are still learning and interacting with cultures around the world. Dress appropriately, as you would in a university classroom.3. Sit in a well-lit space and be mindful of what things in your home may be in view of the camera.4. Students should only have applications and resources open as directed by the course instructor.5. Please use non-verbal communication functions with a special emphasis of the icon to raise your hand to speak, at the same time recognize that your instructor may not immediately see the chat while leading the class. If the debate is unstructured, make sure nobody raised their hands before you speak up and jump ahead of them, make sure you pause before you respond to make sure your classmate or instructor has finished talking. Please don't monopolize discussion. Be to the point.6. Being in an online conference is like being in class. Contribute to the learning environment, and don’t make distracting noises or movements.7. Please keep your video on in order to enable better communication with course instructors and classmates. If you are unable to, for whatever reason, please let your instructor or TA know and turn off the video.8. Feel free to experiment with backgrounds or blurs if you worry about your privacy, but understand these features require additional computing resources.9. Mute yourself when you aren’t speaking.10. Please make sure your name is correctly displayed as what you want to be called by your colleagues and teaching team.
- Further resources and recommended reading
R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of Nature (1945).
David C. Lindberg, The Beginnings of Western Science. The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context 600 BC to AD 1450 (1992).
A. Funkenstein, Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century (1986).
Edward Grant, Science and Religion, 400 BC - AD 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus (2004).
Gary B. Ferngren, ed., The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia (2000).
John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives (1991).
Edward Grant, The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages (1996).
Ronald L. Numbers and David C. Lindberg, When Science and Christianity Meet (2003).
Peter Harrison, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion (2010).
Please note that these scans are for your personal use only, and must not be posted to any public server at any time in the future.
- Introductory lectures
-  September 21 - The conflict thesis
John W. Draper, "Preface," The History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1875), v-xvi.
You are free to read the preface in any one of many contemporary translations. If you do so, be sure to jot down any neologisms or curious phrasings that you think might bear comparison in class. (Czech translation) (German translation) (Ahmet Midhat's partial Ottoman Turkish translation) (Zafer Ali Khan's 1910 Ottoman Turkish translation) (Polish translation) (Russian translation) (Ukrainian translation) (Dutch translation) (French translation) (Italian translation) (Spanish translation) (Japanese translation) (English, French, Russian, and Polish versions were available in Vilnius.)
Peter Harrison, "'Science' and 'religion': Constructing the boundaries," Journal of Religion 86 (2006): 81-106.
The "conflict thesis" is ubiquitous (e.g. Ferngren, Brooke); consult for further references.
Andrew Dickson White, History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896).
Ronald L. Numbers, ed., Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion (2009).
M. Alper Yalcinkaya, "Science as an ally of religion: a Muslim appropriation of 'the conflict thesis'," British Journal for the History of Science 44 (2011): 161-181.
(Click on image for source.)
-  September 28 - The Greek cosmos. From mythos to logos.
The unique discovery of the logos over mythos. The emergence of rational discourse and philosophy. Philosophy as a reasoned (scientific) way of life. What does the idea of the cosmos mean, and what are the implications? Major steps in the development of Greek science: the mathematical and astronomical discoveries. 'Saving the phenomena.'
G. E. R. Lloyd, Magic, Reason and Experience, Cambridge, 1979, ch. 1.
Versnel, Henk S., “Thrice One. Three Greek Experiments in Oneness,” One God or Many? Concepts of Divinity in the Ancient World, ed. Barbara N. Porter, Chebeague, Casco Bay Assyriological Society, 2000, pp. 79-163.
-  October 5 - Plato, Aristotle, and the others
There were different philosophical (scientific) schools in the Hellenistic realm. Emperor Marcus Aurelius famously founded four philosophical chairs in Athens in 176: one each for the Platonists, the Epicureans, the Peripatetics and the Stoics. These schools had widely different theologies. The class will show their different assumptions about the cosmos and the divinities.
Chr. Stead, Philosophy in Christian Antiquity (1994), 31-79.
-  October 12 - Christian views of Hellenistic natural philosophy
Assigned reading: David C. Lindberg, "Science and the Early Christian Church," Isis 74/4 (1983): 509-530.
-  October 19 - Medieval natural history and natural philosophy: Tradition and transformation
The transmission of Hellenistic science to the Latin West. Encyclopaedias. Translations. Indigenous developments. The emergence of logic as a methodology for science. Institutions of knowledge.
Presentation: Aggeliki [update: postponed]
Discussion leader: Robert
Edward Grant, A History of Natural Philosophy. From the Ancient World to the Nineteenth Century (2006), 97-178.
[click on image for source]
-  October 26 - Paris 1277
"The condemnation of 1277," in Edward Grant, ed., A Source Book of Medieval Science (1974), 45-50.
Pierre Duhem, "Letter to Father Bulliot, on science and religion (1911)," in Essays in History and Philosophy of Science (1996), 157-162.Edward Grant, "Science and theology in the Middle Ages," in Lindberg and Numbers, eds., God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science (1986), 49-75.
Pearl Kibre and Nancy Siraisi, "The Institutional Settings: The Universities," in Science in the Middle Ages, Lindberg, ed., 120-144.
John C. Briggs, "Bacon's science and religion," The Cambridge Companion to Bacon, ed. Markku Peltonen (1996), 172-199.
Geoffrey Cantor and Chris Kenny, "Barbour's fourfold way: Problems with his taxonomy of science-religion relationships," Zygon 36 (2001): 765-781.
R. Hooykaas, Religion and the Rise of Modern Science (1972).
Stanley Jaki, Science and Creation (1974).
William Wallace, review of Hooykaas, Archives internationales d'histoire des sciences 25 (1975): 154-156.
John Polkinghorne's extensive opus, including the Gifford Lectures.
-  November 2 - What was at stake in the Copernican revolution?
Osiander's anonymous introduction to Copernicus, De Revolutionibus (1543).
Owen Gingerich, "The Copernican Revolution," in Ferngren, ed., Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, 95-104.
Robert S. Westman, The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order (2011), 1-9, 109-140.
George Saliba, Islamic Science and the Making of the European Renaissance (2007).
Thomas S. Kuhn, The Copernican Revolution (1957).
Ludwik Birkenmajer, Mikołaj Kopernik, Cz. 1, Studya nad pracami Kopernika oraz materyały biograficzne (1900).
Michal Kokowski, Różne oblicza Mikołaja Kopernika (2009).A visual aid for thinking about the shift from geocentric to heliocentric systems.(Click on image for larger version.)
-  November 9 - Natural magic, mathematics, and the Galilean moment
Assigned reading:[Pseudo?-] Paracelsus, "Concerning certain particular signs of natural and supernatural things," Concerning the Nature of Things (c. 1537), from The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus Bombast, of Hohemheim, called Paracelsus, vol. 1, ed. A. E. Waite (1894), 188-194. [This is a brief excerpt, and you need not spend much time puzzling over the substance of it. But for purposes of class discussion, ask yourself why churchmen might be concerned about the way that "signs" function in this work.]
Galileo Galilei, "Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany" (1615)
Maurice A. Finocchiaro, "Science, religion, and the historiography of the Galileo Affair: On the undesirability of oversimplication," Osiris, 2nd Series, 16 (2001): 114-132.
J. J. Bono, The Word of God and the Languages of Man (1995), 193-198.Brian P. Copenhaver, "Natural magic, hermetism, and occultism in early modern science," in Reappraisals of the Scientific Revolution (Cambridge, 1990), 261-301.
Peter Harrison, The Bible, Protestantism and the Rise of Natural Sciences (1998).
Stephen Gaukroger, The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity 1210-1685 (2006).
Brian P. Copenhaver, Hermetica : the Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a new English translation, with notes and introduction (1992). [available at Medieval Library]
Mario Biagioli, Galileo Courtier: The Practice of Science in the Culture of Absolutism (Chicago, 1993).
J. L. Heilbron, Galileo (Oxford, 2010).
Some of the burgeoning histories of Galileo from the nineteenth century, many of them drawing on the lengthy project to publish his works in their entirety, and via a dialectic of critical and apologetic views, creating our modern image of him as suffering for science:
David Brewster, The Martyrs of Science; or, the Lives of Galileo, Tycho Brahe, and Kepler (1841).
Emil Wohlwill, Der Inquisitionsprocess des Galileo Galilei (1870).
Karl von Gebler, Galileo Galilei und die römische Curie : nach den authentischen Quellen (1876).
Gaston Tissandier, Les Martyrs de la Science (1891 ). (Russian translation)
Alajos Czógler, "Galilei," A fizika története életrajzokban (1882).
József Lukscsics, A Galileo-kérdés (1910).
J. N. Frank, Proces inkwizycyjny Galileusza podług najnowszych badan (1881).
P. A. Forner, Galileo a jeho spor s církví (1910).
V. I. Assonov, Галилей перед судом инквизиции: Очерк его жизни и трудов (1870).
O. Ia. Pergament, Галилео Галилей, его жизнь и научная деятельность (1897).
Е. А. Predtechenskii, Галилей, его жизнь и научная деятельность: Биографический очерк (1892).
(Click on image for larger version.)
-  November 16 - Mechanical philosophies
Presentation: Darrah + Ngan
Discussion leader: Pavel + Ngan
Assigned reading:René Descartes, Principles of Philosophy (1644), trans. Jonathan Bennett. [Concentrate for present purposes on Part 1, 1-12; Part 2, 36; Part 3, 1-4; Part 4, 207]
Robert Boyle, The Christian Virtuoso: Shewing, That by being addicted to Experimental Philosophy, a Man is rather Assisted, than Indisposed, to be a Good Christian (1690-91), The Works of Robert Boyle, M. Hunter and E. B. Davis, eds., vol. 11 (2000), 291-327. [The full text is included here, but it is OK if you do not read past p. 309. Boyle's English sounds archaic to our ears, so it will take you a little while to work through the text, but his reasoning is still frequently easier to appreciate than that of Descartes. An especially important term: "Artificer," meaning God considered as the Creator of the universe, but with connotations of artisan and craftsman.]
W. B. Ashworth, “Christianity and the Mechanistic Universe,” When Science and Christianity Meet, 61-84.
Saul Fisher, Pierre Gassendi's Philosophy and Science: Atomism for Empiricists (2005).
Marie Boas , "The Establishment of the Mechanical Philosophy," Osiris 10 (1952): 412-541.
Peter Harrison, The Bible, Protestantism and the Rise of Natural Sciences (1998).
Simon Schaffer, "Godly men and mechanical philosophers: Souls and spirits in Restoration natural philosophy," Science in Context 1 (1987): 55-85.
Margaret G. Cook, "Divine artifice and natural mechanism: Robert Boyle's mechanical philosophy of nature," Osiris 16 (2001): 133-150.
Harold J. Cook, The Young Descartes: Nobility, Rumor, and War (2018).
(Click on image for larger version.)
-  November 23 - Newtonian heterodoxies
Presentation: Fatma Nur + Robert
Discussion leaders: Darrah + Rebeka
Assigned reading:William Whiston, A New Theory of the Earth, From its Original, to the Consummation of all Things (1696) (and full text).
Margaret Jacobs, "Christianity and the Newtonian worldview," God and Nature (1986).
Isaac Newton, extract from the ‘General Scholium’ from the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, vol. 2 (London, 1729).
Sir Isaac Newton, "Query 31" from OPTICKS: OR, A TREATISE OF THE Reflections, Refractions, Inflections and Colours OF LIGHT, 4th ed., corrected (London, 1730), 376-406 (abridged).
Frank Manuel, The Religion of Isaac Newton (1974).
Rob Iliffe, "The religion of Isaac Newton," The Cambridge Companion to Newton, 2d ed., 485-523.
Rob Iliffe, Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton (2017).
Betty Jo Teeter Dobbs, The foundations of Newton's alchemy : or, "The hunting of the greene lyon" (1975).
Jed Z. Buchwald and Mordechai Feingold, Newton and the Origin of Civilization (2013).
David Kubrin, "Newton and the cyclical cosmos: Providence and the mechanical philosophy," Journal of the History of Ideas 28 (1967): 325-346.
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The in-class PowerPoint slides are available through CEU OneDrive here.
-  November 30 - Darwinian themes
The role of geology: the Devon controversy. (GyG)
Assigned reading:Charles Darwin, "The question of whether each particular variation has been pre-ordained," from The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, vol. 2 (1871), 430-432. (Polish translation [image 385]) (Russian translation) (German translation [image 574]) (Dutch translation) (French translation [image 469]) (Italian translation)
Francis Darwin, "Religion," from Life of Charles Darwin (London, 1892), 55-65.
J. Hedley Brooke, “Darwin and Victorian Christianity,” The Cambridge Companion to Darwin, ed. J. Hodge and G. Radick (2009), 197-219.
Phillip R. Sloan, "'The sense of sublimity': Darwin on nature and divinity," Osiris 16 (2001): 251-269.D. B. Paul, “Darwin, Social Darwinism and Eugenics,” The Cambridge Companion to Darwin, ed. J. Hodge and G. Radick, (2009), 219-245.
T. Eagleton, Reason, Faith and Revolution, New Haven, 2009.
Adrian Desmond and James Moore, "Never an atheist," Darwin, The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist (1991), 622-637.
David Livingstone, "Re-placing Darwin and Christianity," in Numbers and Lindberg, When Science and Christianity Meet.
Darwin is an obligatory topic in all the general surveys in the "Additional Resources" section.
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-  December 7 - Cosmology and liberal theology
Excursus: The Anthropic Principle. The encyclical "Faith and reason." (GyG)
Arthur S. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1928). [Within your limited time constraints, page through the book to get an impression of his topical concerns, linger a bit on the chapter "Man's place in the universe," and then concentrate especially on the chapter "Science and mysticism."] (Hungarian review)
Matthew Stanley, "Religion in modern life: Science, philosophy, and liberal theology in interwar Britain," in Practical Mystic: Religion, Science, and A. S. Eddington (2007), 194-237.
Ernan McMullin, "Religion and cosmology," Encyclopedia of Cosmology: Historical, Philosophical, and Scientific Foundations of Modern Cosmology, ed. Norriss S. Hetherington (1993), 579-595.
Helge Kragh, "Religion, politics, and the universe," in Cosmology and Controversy: The Historical Development of Two Theories of the Universe (1996), 251-268.
Thomas Ryckman, "'A believing rationalist': Einstein and 'the truly valuable' in Kant," The Cambridge Companion to Einstein, eds. Michel Janssen and Christoph Lehner (2014), 377-397.
Robert Smith, The Expanding Universe: Astronomy's 'Great Debate' 1900-1931 (1982).
Loren R. Graham, "Cosmology and cosmogony," Science, Philosophy, and Human Behavior in the Soviet Union (1987), 380-427.
- Zoom procedures