Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550: From Aristotle to Copernicus

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Historian Edward Grant illuminates how today's scientific culture originated with the religious thinkers of the Middle Ages. In the early centuries of Christianity, Christians studied science and natural philosophy only to the extent that these subjects proved useful for a better understanding of the Christian faith, not to acquire knowledge for its own sake. However, with the influx of Greco-Arabic science and natural philosophy into Western Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Christian attitude toward science changed dramatically. Despite some tensions in the thirteenth century, the Church and its theologians became favorably disposed toward science and natural philosophy and used them extensively in their theological deliberations.