Galileo and the Garden of Eden: Galileo’s Hermeneutics, Modern Christians, and Natural History

Time: 7:00pm
Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Location: 243 Central Academic Building (CAB), University of Alberta


Presenter: Dr. Ted Davis

To defend Copernican theory from the charge of being contrary to the Bible, Galileo argued that God’s “two books” of Scripture and nature could be harmonized by recognizing that Scripture is “accommodated” to ordinary human language and ideas, which are not scientific. Galileo’s hermeneutical strategy was widely imitated by scientists and clergy in the nineteenth century to help Christians accept an ancient Earth. Since then, however, American Christians have responded to these hermeneutical strategies in varying ways. This talk analyzes what Galileo said, shows how his arguments were reprised in nineteenth-century arguments about the relationship between natural history and Christianity, and explores the trajectory of these arguments into the present day.

Dr. Edward (Ted) Davis is a Professor of History of Science at Messiah College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In both his teaching and research, he emphasizes the human side of science, especially the interaction of Christianity and science from the Church Fathers down to the present day. His scholarly publications mostly deal with aspects of the Scientific Revolution (the period from Copernicus to Newton), especially the life and work of the great chemist Robert Boyle. Davis' research also examines science and religion in modern America, in particular the period between the two world wars. Projects in both areas have been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation. He also writes about science and religion for print magazines and web sites, including biweekly columns for the BioLogos Forum. Dr. Davis has a B.S. in Physics from Drexel University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from Indiana University.

Co-sponsored by the Canadian Scientific & Christian Affiliation

Everyone is welcome; an RSVP is requested but not required to Sara at: