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Science and Theology in the Reformation Studies in Interpretations of Astronomical Observation in Sixteenth-century Germany by Ms Charlotte Methuen

Science and Theology in the Reformation Studies in Interpretations of Astronomical Observation in Sixteenth-century Germany


Science and Theology in the Reformation Studies in Interpretations of Astronomical Observation in Sixteenth-century Germany by Ms Charlotte Methuen

This book provides an investigation into the role of theological arguments in interpreting astronomical phenomena in the sixteenth century.Beginning with an exploration of how the Reformers conceived the relationship between natural and moral philosophy, that is, physics and ethics, the author then investigates the relationship between natural law and the order of nature in the thought of Philip Melanchthon.These articles set the scene for a discussion of the role of theological arguments, and in particular understandings of God's Providence, in the interpretation of astronomical phenomena in the late sixteenth century. A similar interaction between theological, astronomical and political arguments shaped Michael Maestlin's objections to the Gregorian calendar reform. Johannes Kepler's arguments for the authority of his astronomical theories show a tacit awareness that novelty was to be equated with heresy also draw on theological motifs. The strong parallel between his use of the theory of accommodation and his understanding of hypothesis suggest that questions of theology and questions of proof were closely related in his mind.A final chapter considers critically Sachiko Kusukawa's thesis that Melanchthon established a Lutheran natural philosophy .


Mention -Book News, November 2008 Mention --Book News, November 2008 Mention Book News, November 2008 Central to the rise of modern science was the concept of natural order. What did it mean, how was it to be investigated and how was it related to theological ideas of the supernatural? In an attractive compilation of discerning essays, Charlotte Methuen provides a nuanced account of Reformation theology and of the diversity of its expression in the interpretation of innovative science. Particularly sensitive to the diversification within Lutheran theology, she shows how different understandings of general and special Providence informed the interpretation of astronomical phenomena, including the seemingly miraculous new star of 1572. For historians of science and for students of post-Reformation natural theology her book is an excellent resource. - John Hedley Brooke, Andreas Idreos Professor Emeritus of Science & Religion, University of Oxford, UK--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

The Revd Canon Dr Charlotte Methuen is Departmental Lecturer in Ecclesiastical History in the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Oxford, specialising in the history of the Reformation. She was previously Assistentin for Reformation History at the Ruhr University Bochum (Germany). She is the author of Kepler's Tubingen: Stimulus to a Theological Mathematics (Aldershot 1998) and numerous articles.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th June 2008


Ms Charlotte Methuen

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T.& T.Clark Ltd an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


144 pages


Christian theology



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