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

Author(s): James Hannam

World History

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.


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'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 '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.' Sunday Telegraph 'Hannam, the liveliest of guides, makes enjoyable reading out of some seriously dusty history and difficult ideas.' Scotsman 'Here, in short, is a readable book, aimed at an intelligent but ignorant layman. You'll enjoy it.' Daniel Hannan MEP, Daily Telegraph 'A very useful general survey of a difficult topic, and a robust defence of an unfairly maligned age.' Spectator

General Fields

  • : 9781848310704
  • : Icon Books Ltd
  • : Icon Books Ltd
  • : August 2009
  • : 240mm X 160mm X 30mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Illustrations, 1 map
  • : 320
  • : 509
  • : 1
  • : Hardback
  • : James Hannam