Theology and the Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century
Amos Funkenstein

One of Princeton University Press's Notable Centenary Titles.

Paperback | 1989 | $72.00 | ($50.40) / £49.95 | (£34.97) | ISBN: 9780691024257
440 pp.
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This pioneering work in the history of science, which originated in a series of three Gauss Seminars given at Princeton University in 1984, demonstrated how the roots of the scientific revolution lay in medieval scholasticism. A work of intellectual history addressing the metaphysical foundations of modern science, Theology and the Scientific Imagination raised and transformed the level of discourse on the relations of Christianity and science. Amos Funkenstein was one of the world's most distinguished scholars of Jewish history, medieval intellectual history, and the history of science. Called a genius and Renaissance man by his academic colleagues, Funkenstein was legendary for his ability to recite long literary passages verbatim and from memory in Latin, German, French, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Greek decades after he had last read them. A winner of the coveted Israel Prize for History, Funkenstein was born and raised in Palestine and received his Ph.D. in history and philosophy at the Free University of Berlin in 1965, as one of the first Jewish students to receive a doctorate in Germany after World War II.

Author of seven books and more than fifty scholarly articles in four languages, Funkenstein was at the height of his powers in Theology and the Scientific Imagination, which ends with the author's influential discernment of the seventeenth century's "unprecedented fusion" of scientific and religious language. It remains a fundamental text to historians and philosophers of science.


"Theology and the Scientific Imagination should be read by every historian of science. I can also hardly imagine a philosopher of science who would remain indifferent to the roots of modern thinking. The reading of this book gives one a deep intellectual pleasure: to follow adventures in ideas is like experiencing the adventures themselves."--Michael Heller, The Review of Metaphysics

"[This work] promises to raise the level and transform the nature of discourse on the relations of Christianity and science. . . . a bold study of ideas . . . bristling with insight and perceptive reinterpretation of familiar episodes in the history of natural philosophy."--David C. Lindberg, Journal of the History of Medicine

"Funkenstein's powerful essay belongs to that genre of intellectual history which has addressed itself to . . . the metaphysical foundations of modern science. . . . Liberation from naive conceptions of historical continuity gives Funkenstein leave to concentrate on a finely nuanced exegesis of those philosophers who fall within his purview. The result is a work of discernment and distinction."--J. H. Brooke, The Times Higher Education Supplement

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