Re-enchanting the Universe: Evangelicals and the Rise of Science

Speaker(s): Amanda Russell-Jones, Bruce Hindmarsh
Date: Fall 2018
Length: 1h26m
Product ID: RGDL4802AZ

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Description

 

This is a Interface Lecture Series talk given during the fall of 2018.

The popular idea that Christianity and Science have always been fundamentally in conflict dissolves upon closer historical examination. This is true even for popular Protestant spirituality. The significant evangelical spiritual awakening in the North Atlantic that appeared in the eighteenth century took place among those who were the first generation to accept the basic postulates of Isaac Newton and to embrace the new science. The world of nature was now neither possessed of a transcendent spiritual form (Plato) nor an immanent spiritual form (Aristotle), so how was one to understand the relation of things spiritual and things material? A number of the early evangelicals engaged with this question in a sophisticated way. Jonathan Edwards was a young undergraduate at Yale when Newton's Principia and Opticks were first taken out of their wooden crates and added to the college library collection, and he studied these works exhaustively. So also John Wesley produced one of the most comprehensive compendia of the period of the latest findings of science. To these can be added a number of other figures over the course of the century: devout poets, artists, practicing scientists, and theologians who responded to the rise of science with "wonder, love, and praise."

The lecture was followed by response from Amanda Russell-Jones, a Sessional Lecturer in History and Interdisciplinary Studies at Regent College. She holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Birmingham for a thesis entitled The Voice of the Outcast: Josephine Butler's Biblical Interpretation and Public Theology. Dr. Russell-Jones' courses include "Women, Church, and State," "Slavery and Slavery's Children," and "Technology, Wilderness, and Creation."

Interface offers lectures, articles and other resources that probe and preserve the relationship between theology and scienceu2014working toward healing the breach between these disciplines as they have taken shape in our late modern age.

The John Templeton Foundation

Interface has been made possible through the John Templeton Foundation. The Foundation aims to advance human well-being by supporting research on the Big Questions, and by promoting character development, individual freedom, and free markets. The Foundation takes its vision from its founding benefactor, the late Sir John Templeton, who sought to stimulate what he described as 'spiritual progress.'

Thanks to a generous grant provided by the Templeton Foundation, these lectures are available free of charge until August 2019.

See All Audio by Amanda Russell-Jones Bruce Hindmarsh

Amanda Russell-Jones is a scholar focusing on Victorian society, as well as on the issues of slavery and women's relationship to the church in our contemporary world. She is an independant scholar, has been a trustee of an arts training centre, and has preached and spoken at a variety of Christian conferences.

Bruce Hindmarsh is the James M. Houston Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College. He also serves as the President of the American Society of Church History. He is author of John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition: Between the Conversion of Wesley and Wilberforce and The Evangelical Conversion Narrative, and his articles have appeared in Church History and the Journal of Ecclesiastical History.

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