Bruce W Hevly
Scientific and religious ideas have been two of the major forces shaping our modern view of the world. Often regarded as being in conflict, they can equally well be seen as complementary and interdependent. Study of the relationship between scientific and religious ideas with focus on particular episodes of history from ancient to modern times.
Modern commentators have often portrayed science and religion as conflicting or, at best, complementary. Here we will undertake a series of week-long case studies, each looking at one episode in the history of this relationship. Case studies will include: Augustine and the establishment of a handmaiden metaphor for relationships between philosophy and religion; natural philosophy and Islamic intellectual life; the condemnation of 1277 and its consequences for medieval mechanics; Victorian natural theology and arguments from design; Protestantism and the rise of modern science; quantum theory, relativity and its religious interpreters in the early twentieth century.
Student learning goals
Gain familiarity with a basic narrative of the interactions between science and religion.
Gain a sense of how these took different forms in different historical contexts.
Practice making arguments and interpreting primary and secondary sources in essays.
Learn skills associated with participation in the seminar format.
Practice reading other historian's arguments critically.
General method of instruction
No prerequisites; general background in European history of history of science may be helpful.
Class assignments and grading
Each two-hour class meeting will include lectures and discussions based on assigned readings. There will be a weekly paper assignment.
Preparation for and participation in class discussion; assessments of five, four to five page essays, each revised after comments by instructor.