Science and Religion
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CitationBlair, Ann. 2004. "Science and Religion." In Cambridge History of Christianity, Vol. 6: Reform and Expansion, 1500-1660, edited by Ronnie Po-Chia Hsia, 427-45. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
AbstractThe period of religious transformations covered in this volume corresponds closely in time to a series of major scientific developments traditionally known as the "Scientific Revolution", which is commonly considered to extend from the publication of Copernicus' heliocentric thesis (in De Revolutionibus, 1543) to that of Newton's laws of physics (in the Principia, 1687).i In the course of these 150 years Aristotelian natural philosophy, which had been dominant since its introduction to the Latin West ca. 1200, came under attack in many quarters and gradually lost its hold on the curriculum. Various alternative authorities and new interpretations of nature were advanced, but by 1650 the new philosophy which had become dominant was a mechanical philosophy premised on the notion that all phenomena could be explained as particles of matter in motion, according to mathematical laws open to empirical− observation and experimentation. The historiography on the Scientific Revolution is vast.ii Alongside detailed studies of the central figures and texts of the Scientific Revolution, we have a rich array of studies which highlight the role of the social, cultural and intellectual contexts of these developments. Among these religion has long been and continues to be acknowledged as a particularly important factor.
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