, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 363–370 | Cite as

Beliefs, Lebensformen, and conceptual history

Peter Harrison: The territories of science and religion. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2015, xiii+300pp, $30 Cloth
  • Peter Harrison

I am grateful to my interlocutors for their careful reading of the book and their incisive remarks. Thanks also to the editors of Metascience for this opportunity to offer a brief response. Necessarily, I am unable to respond to everything the commentators have raised and instead will address four major concerns which to varying degrees appear in each of the three commentaries.

Christianity and propositional religion

One of the key arguments of the book is that the modern understanding of the relationship between science and religion requires a careful investigation of the origins of the concepts themselves. In relation to ‘religion’, my argument was that our modern idea of plural religions characterised by sets of beliefs and practices is an idea that appears for the first time in the early modern period. All three of my reviewers have expressed various levels of doubt about this claim, pointing variously to the importance of creedal statements for the early church, to the vigour with...


  1. Delumeau, Jean. 1977. Catholicism between Luther and Voltaire. London: Burns and Oates.Google Scholar
  2. Harrison, Peter. 2016. Physicotheology, forms of life, and the future of science-religion dialogue. Zygon 51: 30–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Harrison, Peter. 2015. The territories of science and religion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Losch, Andreas. 2009. On the origins of critical realism. Theology and Science 7: 85–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Putnam, Hilary. 1981. Reason, truth, and history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Putnam, Hilary. 1982. Why there isn’t a ready-made world. Synthese 52: 141–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ristuccia, Nathan. 2016. Peter Harrison, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the problem of pre-modern religion. Zygon 51 (Forthcoming).Google Scholar
  8. Ristuccia, Nathan. 2013. The transmission of Christendom. PhD Dissertation, University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  9. Sands, Philippe. 2016. East west street: On the origins of genocide and crimes against humanity. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.Google Scholar
  10. Smith, James K.A. 2015. A therapeutic cartography. In LA Review of Books. 19 July 2015.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Advanced Studies in the HumanitiesUniversity of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations