This first book-length study of physico-theology questions the widespread notion of a steadily advancing early modern separation of religion and science.
Beginning around 1650, the emergence of a number of new scientific concepts, methods, and instruments challenged existing syntheses of science and religion. Physico-theology, which embraced the values of personal, empirical observation, was an international movement of the early Enlightenment that focused on the new science to make arguments about divine creation and providence. By reconciling the new science with Christianity across many denominations, physico-theology played a crucial role in diffusing new scientific ideas, assumptions, and interest in the study of nature to a broad public. In this book, sixteen leading scholars contribute a rich array of essays on the terms and scope of the movement, its scientific and religious arguments, and its aesthetic sensibilities.
Contributors: Ann Blair, Simona Boscani Leoni, John Hedley Brooke, Nicolas Brucker, Katherine Calloway, Kathleen Crowther, Brendan Dooley, Peter Harrison, Barbara Hunfeld, Eric Jorink, Scott Mandelbrote, Brian W. Ogilvie, Martine Pécharman, Jonathan Sheehan, Anne-Charlott Trepp, Rienk Vermij, Kaspar von Greyerz
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