Research Category

Thinking about Theological Anthropology

Humanity has forever been asking and defining what it means to be human. But today answering the “human question” crosses scientific, philosophical, theological, moral, and social (or a combination thereof) boundaries. Some have emphasized a theological anthropology “from below,” using human experience as the source and criterion to determine divine reality. Christian anthropology, however, does […]

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W. E. H. Lecky and the Progress of the Reformation

William E. H. Lecky (1838-1903) at any early age published a survey of the Religious Tendencies of the Ages (1860), which examined the contending religious parties in England—Roman Catholic, High Church, Evangelical, and Latitudinarian or Broad Church.[1] His aim was to “solve that great problem of theology, the legitimate province of private judgement.”[2] In other […]

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Reflecting on the Reformation

Tuesday is Reformation Day. It is a particularly important day as it also marks the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Readers have been inundated with books, essays, articles, and surveys on the Reformation this year. Below is some I have particularly enjoyed reading. Hope you enjoy them too. And don’t forget […]

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The 2017 History of Science Society Annual Meeting

The History of Science Society will meet this year in Toronto, Canada. A preliminary program was recently published with some really fascinating panels and papers. I’m particularly excited about attending a panel on “Astronomical Phenomena in the Nineteenth Century: From the Global to the Provincial,” which includes papers by Jim Secord and Bernie Lightman. That […]

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McCabe and the Land of Bunk

Joseph McCabe (1867-1955), a Roman Catholic monk who abandoned his religious beliefs around 1895, was a prolific author, writing over two hundred books on science, history, biography, and religion. Historians of science and religion have largely ignored McCabe, and it is unclear why. But if historians are looking for the intellectual forebears of the so-called […]

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John William Draper and His Sources

It has often been said, by his contemporaries as well as modern scholars, that John William Draper made little reference to other authors. This is not entirely accurate. To be sure, there are no footnotes or endnotes in Draper’s books. But he does refer to a variety of authors and sometimes even quotes directly from […]

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Newcomb and the Christian Evolutionists

The North American Review, it should be clear, was founded and fostered by an Unitarian spirit. Most of its editors and owners, as we have seen, embraced a liberal theology, and many were Unitarian ministers themselves. Thus it is unsurprising that many of its leading contributors during the late-nineteenth century were men like Simon Newcomb […]

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Simon Newcomb and An Advertisement for a New Religion

The North American Review was established in Boston in 1815 by co-founder and first editor William Tudor (1779-1830). The first issue was in fact almost written entirely by Tudor.  Wanting to establish literary independence from Great Britain, Tudor designed the magazine to include strong literary intelligence, book reviews, reports of leading cultural societies, and inaugural […]

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Some Disjointed Thoughts on Democracy, Plato, and the Christian Roots of Liberalism

Yesterday I was inspired by someone dear to me to write out these thoughts. In a rather uncomfortable disagreement, this person, after I had complained about the direction society was moving (a common aghast of the postgraduate), they simply retorted, “that’s democracy.” My first impulse was to aggressively and disdainfully disagree. But I knew this […]

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The International Scientific Series and the Dissemination of Scientific Naturalism

In examining John William Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874), it is important to recall that it belonged to D. Appleton and Co.’s popular International Scientific Series (ISS), which was, as Roy M. MacLeod put it in his seminal essay, “Evolutionism, Internationalism and Commercial Enterprise in Science: The International Scientific Series […]

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