God's Philosophers

God's Philosophers : How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science

4.08 (810 ratings by Goodreads)
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This is a powerful and a thrilling narrative history revealing the roots of modern science in the medieval world. The adjective 'medieval' has become a synonym for brutality and uncivilized behavior. Yet without the work of medieval scholars there could have been no Galileo, no Newton and no Scientific Revolution. In "God's Philosophers", James Hannam debunks many of the myths about the Middle Ages, showing that medieval people did not think the earth is flat, nor did Columbus 'prove' that it is a sphere; the Inquisition burnt nobody for their science nor was Copernicus afraid of persecution; no Pope tried to ban human dissection or the number zero. "God's Philosophers" is a celebration of the forgotten scientific achievements of the Middle Ages - advances which were often made thanks to, rather than in spite of, the influence of Christianity and Islam. Decisive progress was also made in technology: spectacles and the mechanical clock, for instance, were both invented in thirteenth-century Europe. Charting an epic journey through six centuries of history, "God's Philosophers" brings back to light the discoveries of neglected geniuses like John Buridan, Nicole Oresme and Thomas Bradwardine, as well as putting into context the contributions of more familiar figures like Roger Bacon, William of Ockham and Saint Thomas Aquinas.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 30mm | 331g
  • Duxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Repr.
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 1848311508
  • 9781848311503
  • 32,239

Review Text

'A gripping read full of fantastic illustrations; it's certainly a present I'd love to get.' Bookbag
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Review quote

`A gripping read full of fantastic illustrations; it's certainly a present I'd love to get.' -- Bookbag `Spirited jaunt through centuries of scientific development... captures the wonder of the medieval world: its inspirational curiosity and its engaging strangeness.' -- Sunday Times `A very useful general survey of a difficult topic, and a robust defence of an unfairly maligned age.' -- Spectator `This book contains much valuable material summarised with commendable no-nonsense clarity... James Hannam has done a fine job of knocking down an old caricature.' -- Sunday Telegraph `Takes a comprehensive but accessible look at the way modern scientific thinking developed from the firm foundations of the Medieval world.' -- James Preece, Lovingit `A well-researched, fluently written account of a fascinating period in western intellectual history...a rewarding read...audaciously wide-ranging.' -- Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald `Hannam's absorbing study brings to light the true breadth of scientific discovery during the `Dark Ages.'' -- School House Magazine `a fascinating exploration of the Medieval world, the author of this book, James Hannam, shows just how wrong it is to accept all the old popular myths about decay and ignorance.' -- Tom Kennedy, Science Spin `Wonderful... with engaging fervour, James Hannam has set about rescuing the reputation of a bunch of half-forgotten thinkers, and he shows how they paved the way for modern science.' -- Boris Johnson, Mail on Sunday `He has produced a well-researched, fluently written account of a fascinating period in western intellectual history. Hannam clearly understands the science (and some of it is dazzlingly sophisticated) and he has an eye for the seductive story. This is a rewarding read and its author wears his considerable learning lightly.... the best parts of this book are a triumph.' -- Catholic Herald `Hannam has written a splendid book and fully supported his claim that the Middle Ages laid the foundations of modern science.' -- Edward Grant, Metascience 'Hannam, the liveliest of guides, makes enjoyable reading out of some seriously dusty history and difficult ideas.' -- Scotsman 'Here, in short, is a readable book, aimed at an intelligent but ignorant layman. You'll enjoy it.' -- Daniel Hannan MEP, Daily Telegraph 'Hannam...gives us a great sense of the porousness of the medieval mind.' -- Spectator
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About James Hannam

James Hannam is a graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge where he studied physics and then gained a PhD in the history of science. He lives in Kent with his wife and two children.
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Rating details

810 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 35% (284)
4 44% (358)
3 16% (130)
2 3% (26)
1 1% (12)
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