The Scientific Revolution

Authored by: Joshua M. Moritz

The Routledge Companion to Modern Christian Thought

Print publication date:  March  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782173
eBook ISBN: 9780203387856
Adobe ISBN: 9781136677922


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The Scientific Revolution refers to the period in Western history from Copernicus to Newton (roughly 1500 to 1700) during which the institutional and conceptual foundations of the modern natural sciences were established. This era was characterized by the rejection of many key assumptions of Aristotelian natural philosophy, the ascendancy of the mechanical philosophy, the rise of the experimental method for attaining knowledge of the natural world, key technological advances which greatly enhanced the scope of human observation, and conceptual transformations in mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and biology. The Scientific Revolution has traditionally been described as the period when the natural sciences finally separated both conceptually and institutionally from the influence of the Christian church and theology. However, recent historical research on the relationship between science and religion during this period has challenged this conventional understanding. In this chapter we will review the historiography of the Scientific Revolution as it pertains to the relationship between science and theology, and discuss some key cultural and conceptual transformations that took place during this period.

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