James C. Ungureanu, "Science, Religion, and the Protestant Tradition: Retracing the Origins of Conflict" (U Pittsburgh Press, 2019)
The story of the “conflict thesis” between science and religion—the notion of perennial conflict or warfare between the two—is part of our modern self-understanding. As the story goes, John William Draper (1811–1882) and Andrew Dickson White (1832–1918) constructed dramatic narratives in the nineteenth century that cast religion as the relentless enemy of scientific progress. And yet, despite its resilience in popular culture, historians today have largely debunked the conflict thesis.
In Science, Religion, and the Protestant Tradition: Retracing the Origins of Conflict (U Pittsburgh Press, 2019), James Ungureanu argues that Draper and White actually hoped their narratives would preserve religious belief. For them, science was ultimately a scapegoat for a much larger and more important argument dating back to the Protestant Reformation, where one theological tradition was pitted against another—a more progressive, liberal, and diffusive Christianity against a more traditional, conservative, and orthodox Christianity. By the mid-nineteenth century, narratives of conflict between “science and religion” were largely deployed between contending theological schools of thought. However, these narratives were later appropriated by secularists, freethinkers, and atheists as weapons against all religion. By revisiting its origins, development, and popularization, Ungureanu ultimately reveals that the “conflict thesis” was just one of the many unintended consequences of the Protestant Reformation.
James C. Ungureanu is a Historian in Residence in the George L. Mosse Program in History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Queensland and in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Morteza Hajizadeh is a Ph.D. graduate in English from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. His research interests are Cultural Studies; Critical Theory; Environmental History; Medieval (Intellectual) History; Gothic Studies; 18th and 19th Century British Literature. YouTube Channel. Twitter.
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Support our show by becoming a premium member! https://newbooksnetwork.supportingcast.fm/christian-studies
In The Faddan More Psalter: The Discovery and Conservation of a Medieval Treasure Dr. John Gillis explores the conservation, construction, and context of an early medieval psalter discovered by chance in a bog at Faddan More, Co. Tipperary in July 2006. The different facets of this find are...
Benjamin Franklin grew up in a devout Protestant family with limited prospects for wealth and fame. By hard work, limitless curiosity, native intelligence, and luck (what he called "providence"), Franklin became one of Philadelphia's most prominent leaders, a world recognized scientist, and the...