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The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution (US)

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

BY JAMES HANNAM

READ CHAPTERS ONE AND TWO FREE NOW

SHORTLISTED FOR THE ROYAL SOCIETY SCIENCE BOOK PRIZE 2010

SHORTLISTED FOR THE BRITISH SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE DINGLE BOOK PRIZE 2011

US EDITION NOW OUT IN HARDBACK AND KINDLE

UK EDITION NOW OUT IN PAPERBACK AND KINDLE

DUTCH EDITION NOW OUT IN PAPERBACK

GERMAN EDITION NOW OUT IN HARDBACK

ITALIAN EDITION EXPECTED JANUARY 2015 AND BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE EDITION FORTHCOMING

I'm available to give talks on science and religion.  See here.

“Here, in short, is a readable book, aimed at an intelligent but ignorant layman. You'll enjoy it.” Daniel Hannan MEP, Daily Telegraph

“...this wonderful book. With an engaging fervour, James Hannam has set about rescuing the reputation of a bunch of half-forgotten thinkers, and he shows how they paved the way for modern science.” Boris Johnson, Mail on Sunday

“Well-researched and hugely enjoyable” New Scientist

“This period has been poorly documented, and I think this makes Hannam’s account all the more extraordinary. It is engaging, informative and I heartily recommend it.” Nature

“A fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of science” The Independent

“A spirited jaunt through centuries of scientific development… captures the wonder of the medieval world: its inspirational curiosity and its engaging strangeness.” Sunday Times

“This book contains much valuable material summarised with commendable no-nonsense clarity… James Hannam has done a fine job of knocking down an old caricature.” Noel Malcolm, Sunday Telegraph

“Hannam, the liveliest of guides, makes enjoyable reading out of some seriously dusty history and difficult ideas.” The Scotsman

“A very useful general survey of a difficult topic, and a robust defence of an unfairly maligned age.” The Spectator

he Genesis of Science tells the unknown story of medieval science. It shows how Copernicus’s sun-centred universe, Kepler’s optics and Galileo’s mechanics all owed their inspiration and much of their detail to medieval antecedents. You will meet fascinating characters and hear their stories, including the tragic love affair of Abelard and Heloise, the burning of the astrologer Cecco D’Ascoli, the family disasters of Jerome Cardan and the trial of Galileo.   The Genesis of Science debunks many myths about the Middle Ages. Medieval people did not think the earth was flat, nor did Columbus 'prove' that it is a sphere. Everyone already knew. The Inquisition burnt nobody for their scientific ideas, nor was Copernicus afraid of persecution. No Pope tried to ban human dissection or the number zero. Medieval thinkers were not uncritical slaves to Aristotle. The Middle Ages were an era of invention and rapid technological change. For example, spectacles, the mechanical clock and the windmill were all invented in thirteenth century Europe. Ideas from the Far East, like printing, gunpowder and the compass were taken further by Europeans than the Chinese had imagined possible. Historians now utterly reject the idea that science and religion have been locked in a great conflict throughout history. The Genesis of Science shows how the Church supported but also set boundaries for science in the Middle Ages. Many of the most significant contributors to medieval science became bishops or cardinals.  Many people today still believe that heavy objects fall faster than light ones and that vacuums suck.  In The Genesis of Science, you will not only learn the truth about physics, but also how medieval scholars overturned the false wisdom of ancient Greece to lay the foundations of modern science.

The Genesis of Science is written by a historian with degrees in physics and history from Oxford and London universities. The author also has a PhD in the history of science from the University of Cambridge. It is based on the author’s own research as well as highly regarded academic work by the world’s leading historians of medieval science such as David Lindberg, Edward Grant, William A Wallace, Alan Debus, John North, Lynn Thorndike, Anneliese Maier and Lynn White. This is the first history of medieval science intended for the lay reader and makes available the exciting developments in modern scholarship.

My most sincere thanks to Gode Cookery for the wonderful woodcuts that illustrate this web site. 


© James Hannam 2014