Book Reviews / Journal of Reformed Theology 4 (2010) 71-94 79 Peter Harrison, The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science , Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2007, 300 pp., ₤ 55.00 (ISBN 9780521875592). Peter Harrison is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. In this interesting book, he seeks to show how the doctrine of the fall of man in paradise inﬂuenced methodological developments in the nascent natural sciences in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in England. The Protestant Reformation promoted an apparently pessimistic view of human capacities after the fall. But it combined this with a remarkable optimism about what could be achieved if these limited human capacities were guided by a precise methodology. In this way it promoted the rise of the experimental method. This view is contrary to the often heard thesis that the origins of modern science were associated with faith in the powers of human reason and stand in conﬂict with religion. In the ﬁrst chapter Harrison follows the traces of the belief in ‘Adam’s Encyclopaedia’: Adam would have had an almost perfect knowledge of nature, as is demonstrated in his naming of the beasts. However, after
Journal of Reformed Theology – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2010
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