Author: John Hedley Brooke
Publisher: Cambridge Univ Press
Year Published: 1991
While not an easy book to read straight through, Brooke’s book on ‘Science and Religion’ is an excellent text that delves into the complex struggle between scientific thought and religion from the beginnings of the Renaissance to modern times.
Brooke looks at historical events from the trial of Galileo to the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species and the different Christian movements to accept these beliefs while still remaining within their religious frameworks. As with any newer belief that attempts to overthrow the older, widespread belief, with each new discovery, a new problem was faced, both in the scientist gaining credibility with his seemingly obscure and heretical proof, and in the redefining of core Christian beliefs on the workings of the universe once the idea gained a broader range of acceptance.
The book is written from a historical perspective and its thesis is not to argue whether ‘science’ and ‘religion’ were always separate entities either in harmony or in conflict, but to demonstrate how science came to support both the religious and the secular communities of modern times.
It is an essential book to read for anyone seriously studying European thought and its development from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment and up to modern times.