Post-classical history

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

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

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.

Map of medieval Europe

Introduction: The Truth about Science in the Middle Ages

Chapter 1. After the Fall of Rome: Progress in the Early Middle Ages

Chapter 2. The Mathematical Pope

Chapter 3. The Rise of Reason

Chapter 4. The Twelfth-Century Renaissance

Chapter 5. Heresy and Reason

Chapter 6. How Pagan Science was Christianised

Chapter 7. Bloody Failure: Magic and Medicine in the Middle Ages

Chapter 8. The Secret Arts of Alchemy and Astrology

Chapter 9. Roger Bacon and the Science of Light

Chapter 10. The Clockmaker: Richard of Wallingford

Chapter 11. The Merton Calculators

Chapter 12. The Apogee of Medieval Science

Chapter 13. New Horizons

Chapter 14. Humanism and the Reformation

Chapter 15. The Polymaths of the Sixteenth Century

Chapter 16. The Workings of Man: Medicine and Anatomy

Chapter 17. Humanist Astronomy and Nicolaus Copernicus

Chapter 18. Reforming the Heavens

Chapter 19. Galileo and Giordano Bruno

Chapter 20. Galileo and the New Astronomy

Chapter 21. The Trial and Triumph of Galileo

Conclusion: A Scientific Revolution?

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING

TIMELINE

LIST OF KEY CHARACTERS

NOTES