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The Territories of Science and Religion

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  78 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The conflict between science and religion seems indelible, even eternal. Surely two such divergent views of the universe have always been in fierce opposition? Actually, that’s not the case, says Peter Harrison: our very concepts of science and religion are relatively recent, emerging only in the past three hundred years, and it is those very categories, rather than their ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 6th 2015 by University of Chicago Press (first published March 2nd 2015)
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James Smith
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Needs to be read by everyone in the "science-and-religion" conversation. Watch for my review in the LA Review of Books. ...more
Roger Neyman
Excellent book on sourcing why science and religion have the relationship they have today. Harrison's historical perspective is invaluable in understanding the how modern science and modern religion have shaped each other. It's weakness is that it fails to dig deeper into a more philosophical framework to explore the potential of the relationship, and the scope for each, and so leaves us with the view that the current relationship of conflict is more-or-less the permanent state of affairs. Harri ...more
Christina “6 word reviewer” Lake
Provocatively challenges preconceptions behind 'science wars.' ...more
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a fresh perspective on the science vs. religion debate--a debate that is over two centuries old. The author traces the two terms back to their critical points of popularization. For "religion," that is around the time of the Protestant Reformation, where many versions of Christianity began building their own followings. "Science" comes later, after several iterations of disciplines of empirical study including natural theology, natural philosophy and natural science.

The big idea that Ha
Ben McFarland
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent history of the words "science" and "religion." The way we use them today is not more than a couple hundred years old, yet we constantly talk as if science and religion were always around in the way that we think of them. They. Were. Not. Peter Harrison shows how the ancients thought differently from us, and how and why it changed to the concepts we have today, as the verbal maplines were redrawn. This kind of study across cultures and nations is immensely valuable, and Harri ...more
Jerrid Kruse
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book tracks the development of the constructs of science and religion from the time of Aristotle, but focuses on the reformation/scientific revolution time period into the 1800’s and focuses on Christianity. The book explains how moral and critical thinking virtues originally supported each other and through societal changes (e.g., printing press) both became increasingly objectified. That is, rather than internal virtues to be developed in the individual, religion and science emerged as ex ...more
Calvin Fletcher
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brilliant book and very well researched. I finished this book with a completely different outlook on the narrative given about scientific development and the so-called "conflict" between science and religion, however one chooses to classify and define those terms. Highly recommended to someone interested in the role theology had to play in the development of science and apologetics. Regardless of what "side" you are on I am certain you will find some of your opinions challenged and changed. Grea ...more
Oghenovo Obrimah
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for an insightful expose on history of religion and science, particularly interactions between the two spheres, this book does an excellent job. I for one was extremely surprised that ancient Christian philosophers and non-Christian Greek philosophers were in agreement with respect to their views of religion and science. It is fact then that any applications of Greek philosophy towards validation of atheism lack any credibility whatsoever. Highly recommend.
Wyatt Graham
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant historical study regarding the concepts of science and religion. Must read, especially because makes much sense out of the current way in which we conceive of these two disciplines. It’s also dialled into primary sources, adding a layer of authority to it.
Marsha Altman
Read for class
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A culmination of Harrison's three prior monographs (all from Cambridge University Press), this book based on Harrison's 2011 Gifford Lectures is without doubt or argument one of the most important books published on the history of science and religion in the last twenty years. It is even more than that, however, as Harrison is also conversant with major theories of secularization and its relationship to religion and theology (in particular he dialogues with the works of Charles Taylor, Michael A ...more
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much needed and is exceptionally researched.

Compelling evidence that calls out the mythological conflict between the relatively modern categories of religion and science. Harrison's project is well indexed and thought out. It provides a much needed voice in the ongoing struggle to correct long held false assumptions about the history of Christianity's relationship with science.
Aliza Ali
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A true "academic" read. Sometimes tough to understand and the author makes some assumptions that the reader has a clear understanding of history. However, the book is to the point and very engaging. I believe that it can be read and enjoyed by anyone. ...more
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