early Protestant exegesis and the advent of modern science


Books & Culture has a review of an interesting book, The Word and the World: Biblical Exegesis and Early Modern Science, edited by Kevin Killeen (University of Reading) and Peter Forshaw (University of London). The first essay, by Peter Harrison (author of The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science), sets forth the argument that:

“‘the Protestant call for a return to literal interpretation provided the intellectual conditions and the hermeneutic mode conducive to the development of science.’ By eschewing the elaborate, often abstract modes of allegory common in Roman Catholic discourse, Protestantism fostered a kind of scientific consciousness, one given to reading God’s other book, nature, as attentively as it did the Bible.”

Other essays supplement, refine, or challange this thesis.


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