Complexity and its context in science and religion
The second edition of Gary Ferngren’s edited volume, Science and religion: a historical introduction, addresses a real need in the historiography and pedagogy of science and religion. More approachable than the likes of Science and religion: new historical perspectives (Dixon et al. 2010) but more advanced than a collection like Galileo goes to jail (Numbers 2009)—each of which is commendable in its own right, but addresses a different audience—this volume offers a foothold for readers who have a familiarity with, but not an expertise in, the history of science and religion.
Collectively, the thirty concise and well-written chapters in the volume present a clear picture of how historians approach science and religion within the framework of the “complexity thesis”. This view, prominent since the early 1990s, holds that the interactions between various kinds of natural and divine knowledge have been so complex and so dynamic throughout history that no overarching master...
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