Religion and Science Before Religion and Science

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The common distinction between “religion” and “science” that has emerged in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is of very limited use if we apply it to earlier historical configurations.
To problematize what we have learned about religion and science, it is helpful to look at the territory “between” those terms and to “map” that territory of human quests for knowledge without applying a binary terminology. Therefore, this article presents examples of theories and practices that seem to fall outside of “proper science” (in the modern sense) but are also not considered “proper religion.” As its point of departure, the article takes the so called occult sciences, a term that refers back to Latin notions of occulta philosophia from the sixteenth century onward. The article presents three historical vignettes that exemplify the strong overlap and interrelatedness of what we today call religion and science. Each of these systems of knowledge—astrology, magic, and kabbalah—presents an alternative, and in fact quite influential, approach to human understandings of the world. Despite their differences, they all demonstrate the futility of applying twentieth-century distinctions to earlier cultural configurations. A different “mapping” of the “territory” of endeavors to fulfill what Aristotle dubbed the “natural human desire to know” makes clear that the classifications we are familiar with today are the result of scholarship in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Looking at the less familiar, but perhaps more inspiring, territory of earlier periods has the potential to provide a different map for Euro-American “modern” identities.
Originele taal-2English
TitelBloomsbury Religion in North America
SubtitelSection "Western Sciences, Technology and Religion in a Global Context"
RedacteurenWhitney A. Bauman, Lisa Stenmark
Plaats van productieNew York
UitgeverijBloomsbury
Aantal pagina's20
DOI's
StatusPublished - 2022

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