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

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Icon Books Ltd, Aug 7, 2009 - History - 432 pages
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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Humanism and the Reformation
The Polymaths of the Sixteenth Century
The Workings of Man Medicine and Anatomy
Humanist Astronomy and Nicolaus Copernicus
Reforming the Heavens
Galileo and Giordano Bruno
Galileo and the New Astronomy
The Trial and Triumph of Galileo

How Pagan Science was Christianised
Bloody Failure Magic and Medicine in the Middle Ages
The Secret Arts of Alchemy and Astrology
Roger Bacon and the Science of Light
The Clockmaker Richard of Wallingford
The Merton Calculators
The Apogee of Medieval Science
New Horizons
A Scientific Revolution?
Suggestions for Further Reading
List of Key Characters
Bibliography of Works Cited Acknowledgements

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About the author (2009)

James Hannam has a Phd in the History and Philosophy of Science, and lives in Kent.

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