This full course with Dr. Ted Davis (see the short course format here) narrates the story of The Scientific Revolution, the period of roughly two centuries (1500-1700) when modern science took shape. First, Dr. Davis critiques the “Conflict Thesis,” both the broader historical claim that Christian theology holds back scientific progress and the narrower claim that modern science arose only as Christian beliefs faded into the background. He explains why almost all historians today reject that view. Then, he explains important components of ancient Greek natural philosophy, with particular attention to cosmology, mathematical astronomy, and the shape and size of the Earth. Next, he examines how those ideas were received in different cultural contexts—early Christianity, the Roman empire, the Hellenistic world, medieval Islam, and medieval Europe. Discussion of The Scientific Revolution, per se, begins with a detailed study of the new world picture of Nicolaus Copernicus and its gradual acceptance. Here, a biographical approach is taken to the careers and ideas of Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton. Finally, Dr. Davis analyzes other aspects of The Scientific Revolution under four further headings: the new world view of the mechanical philosophy, new sources of knowledge and new views of how to obtain it, new attitudes toward scientific knowledge, and new interactions between science and Christian faith.
Dr. Edward B. (“Ted”) Davis is Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at Messiah University and a Fellow of the International Society for Science & Religion. An expert on historical and contemporary aspects of Christianity and science, Ted has lectured at dozens of universities and seminaries on five continents, served as president of the American Scientific Affiliation, been awarded research grants by The National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, and been an advisor for exhibits at the National Museum of American History (“Discovery and Revelation,” opened March 2022) and the Museum of the Bible (“Scripture and Science,” forthcoming in 2023).
After earning the BS in physics at Drexel University, Ted taught science and mathematics at a Christian high school in Philadelphia, where he developed a deep interest in Christianity and science. He then completed a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science at Indiana University.
To learn more about earning a certificate for this course, please visit “How do I Obtain a Course Certificate?” on our FAQ page. Our course certificates are valued by classical schools and co-ops worldwide, and you can also be on your way to obtaining an elective credit toward a Level 2 certificate with your completion of this course. Teachers certified with either ACSI or ACCS will see continuing education unit (CEU) credits listed on our course certificate for you to submit to either organization (with more information on certification credit here).