Contemporary debates would lead you to believe that science and religion are eternally at odds with each other. In The Territories of Science and...

Contemporary debates would lead you to believe that science and religion are eternally at odds with each other. In The Territories of Science and Religion (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Peter Harrison,Director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Queensland, interrogates the modern assumptions behind this viewpoint and delineates the story of the categories science and religion. He shows that understanding these concepts divided as distinct realms of inquiry is a relatively recent history, politically shaped, and often accidental in its construction. In reality, what we conceptualize as these two separate spheres of life were intimately bound up with one another, often in concert in social life. Harrison also warns us about the consequences of projecting our contemporary conceptual spheres back through the past. In our conversation we discuss ancient Greek philosophy, early Christian thought, natural theology and natural philosophers, conceptions of progress, forms of charity, the professionalization of science, and the creation of scientists.


Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. His research and teaching interests include Theory and Methodology in the Study of Religion, Islamic Studies, Chinese Religions, Human Rights, and Media Studies. You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at [email protected].

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