2. The Religious Origins Thesis
Historical research into the religious origins of modern
science is suggesting an increasing complex interplay of factors. The overall
background context is well known: the contingent rationality of the world,
with roots in creation ex nihilo, the Hellenistic assumption of the
rationality of nature, the debates over finitude and contingency in the Islamic
culture of the 9th-12th centuries, the 13th century encounter with Aristotle in
the West, the rediscovery of Greek and Roman cultures in the Renaissance, and
so on. Scholars such as Michael Foster,Eugene Klaaren,Gary Deason, David
Lindberg and Ron Numbers,Amos Funkenstein,Bernard Cohen,and John Brookehave taken up the broad portrayal of the significance of religion for the rise
of science as Whitehead, Collingwood, Merton and Hooykaas earlier proposed.
They have added to this careful analysis of the religion primarily in the
seventeenth century, including the distinctive contributions of specific
Protestant (particularly Puritan) and Roman Catholic voices.
Contributed by: Dr. Robert Russell