Make a Donation to the New Books Network

The New Books Network is run by volunteers, but the network has expenses. If you like what we do, consider making a contribution

Tom McLeishFaith and Wisdom in Science

Oxford University Press, 2014

by Garrett Brown on May 22, 2015

Tom McLeish

View on Amazon

Much of the public debate about the relationship between science and theology has been antagonistic or adversarial. Proponents on both sides argue that their respective claims are contradictory–that the claims of science trump and even discredit the claims of religion or theology. Some have sought to portray the relationship in a different light. The evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould famously asserted that the two realms were "nonoverlapping magisteria." But recently theologians and scientists have begun to mark out new ground for robust conversation.

Tom McLeish's book Faith and Wisdom in Science (Oxford University Press, ) takes this conversation to new heights. Locating the impulse for science in much biblical literature, particularly the wisdom books of the Hebrew Bible, he shows how one might understand science as a theological endeavor. Rather than a paradigm of "science and theology," he posits a "theology of science," an interrelationship that not only gives us new eyes with which to read the history of science more coherently but also yields a renewed appreciation for science as part of a "ministry of reconciliation" with the natural world and the causes of human suffering.

Tom McLeish is Professor of Physics and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham University. He studied for his first degree and PhD in polymer physics at the University of Cambridge and in 1987 became a lecturer in physics at the University of Sheffield. In 1993 he took the chair in polymer physics at the University of Leeds. He took up his current position in Durham in 2008. He is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Physical Society, and the Royal Society. He is also involved in science communication with the public via radio, television, and school lectures, discussing topics ranging from the physics of slime to the interaction of faith and science.

{ 0 comments }

Thom van DoorenFlight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction

April 17, 2015

Thom van Dooren’s new book is an absolute must-read. (I was going to qualify that with a “…for anyone who…” and realized that it really needs no qualification.) Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (Columbia University Press, 2014) is a beautifully written and evocative meditation on extinction. The book offers (and implicates us […]

Read the full article →

A. Mark SmithFrom Sight to Light: The Passage from Ancient to Modern Optics

March 21, 2015

A. Mark Smith’s new book is a magisterial history of optics over the course of two millennia. From Sight to Light: The Passage from Ancient to Modern Optics (University of Chicago Press, 2015) suggests that the transition from ancient toward modern optics was accompanied by a turn in optical studies from a concern with explaining […]

Read the full article →

Nick WildingGalileo’s Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and the Politics of Knowledge

March 15, 2015

Nick Wilding’s new book is brilliant, thoughtful, and an absolute pleasure to read. Galileo’s Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and The Politics of Knowledge (University of Chicago Press, 2014) takes an unusual approach to understanding Galileo and his context by focusing its narrative on his closest friend, student, and patron, the Venetian Gianfrancesco Sagredo. Though most readers […]

Read the full article →

Edmund RussellEvolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth

March 11, 2015

Evolution is among the most powerful ideas in the natural sciences. Indeed, the evolutionary theorist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously said nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Yet despite its central place in the life sciences, relatively few geographers employ evolutionary theory in their work. In his new book Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology […]

Read the full article →

Orit HalpernBeautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945

March 9, 2015

The second half of the twentieth century saw a radical transformation in approaches to recording and displaying information. Orit Halpern’s new book traces the emergence of the “communicative objectivity” that resulted from this shift and produced new forms of observation, rationality, and economy. Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 (Duke University […]

Read the full article →

Nicolas RasmussenGene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise

January 30, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] Nicolas Rasmussen’s new book maps the intersection of biotechnology and the business world in the last decades of the twentieth century. Gene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) takes readers into the fascinating world of entrepreneur-biologists as they developed five of the […]

Read the full article →

Karen A. Rader and Victoria E. M. CainLife on Display: Revolutionizing U. S. Museums of Science & Natural History in the Twentieth Century

January 16, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] In lucid prose that’s a real pleasure to read, Karen Rader and Victoria Cain’s new book chronicles a revolution in modern American science education and culture. Life on Display: Revolutionizing U. S. Museums of Science & Natural History in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2014) guides readers through a transformation in […]

Read the full article →

Steven ShaviroThe Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism

January 16, 2015

[Cross-posted from the New Books Network Seminar] Steven Shaviro’s new book is a wonderfully engaging study of speculative realism, new materialism, and the ways in which those fields can speak to and be informed by the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. While The Universe of Things: On Speculative Realism (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) will satisfy even advanced scholars […]

Read the full article →

William Sheehan and Christopher ConseliceGalactic Encounters: Our Majestic and Evolving Star-System, From the Big Bang to Time’s End

January 12, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Astronomy]  Galactic Encounters: Our Majestic and Evolving Star-System, From the Big Bang to Time's End, by William Sheehan and Christopher Conselice, takes readers on a journey through time, unfolding the long history of investigation into the fuzzy objects–nebulae, galaxies, dust clouds–in the night sky. This book will be of interest to enthusiasts of […]

Read the full article →