Science and Religion in Popular Publishing in 19th-Century Britain

  • Aileen Fyfe
Conference paper
Part of the Knowledge and Space book series (KNAS, volume 1)

Modern belief in a controversy between science and religion has its origins in the activities of a relatively small number of intellectuals in the late 19th century. The author of this chapter aims to go beyond the intellectual circles, to consider how people in general thought about these issues. Religious practice was part of everyday life for a very large sector of the population, but there was nothing obviously equivalent for the sciences. The chapter focuses on popular publishing as one of the most significant ways in which nonspecialists could learn about the sciences. The author argues that, although secular presentations of the sciences were increasingly common in popular literature from the 1830s onwards, they did not represent opposition to religion per se, nor did Christian presentations disappear. Christian narratives of the sciences continued to appear (and to sell) long after professional science had been secularized. It is thus far from clear whether science did in fact replace theology as a system of knowledge for the majority of the population in the 19th century.


Religious Organization Book Trade Commercial Publisher Sunday School Popular Writing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aileen Fyfe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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