Professor Peter Harrison (Director)
Peter Harrison BSc, BA (Hons), PhD (Qld), MA (Yale), MA, DLitt (Oxon), FAHA.
Peter Harrison was educated at the University of Queensland and Yale University. In 2011 he moved back to Queensland from the University of Oxford where for a number of years he was the Idreos Professor of Science and Religion. At Oxford he was a member of the Faculties of Theology and History, a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre where he continues to hold a Senior Research Fellowship. He has published extensively in the area of cultural and intellectual history with a focus on the philosophical, scientific and religious thought of the early modern period. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford, Yale, and Princeton, is a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2011 he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh.
His five books include, most recently, Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (Chicago, 2011)—an edited collection which surveys conceptions of science from antiquity to the present—and The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion (Cambridge, 2010). He has published over 60 articles or book chapters. He is currently editing his Gifford Lectures under the working title of ‘Science, Religion and Modernity’ and is also working on a project concerned with conceptions of progress in history and the historical sciences.
Room: Room 507, Level 5, Forgan Smith Building
- Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (University of Chicago Press, 2011), edited with Ronald Numbers and Michael Shank.
- The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
- The Fall of Man and the Foundations of Science (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
- The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
- 'Religion' and the Religions in the English Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 1990)
Recent articles and book chapters
- 'Francis Bacon, Natural Philosophy and the Cultivation of the Mind’, Perspectives on Science 20 (2012), 139-158.
- ‘Early Modern Science and the Idea of Moral Progress’, in Donald Yerxa (ed.), British Abolitionism and the Question of Moral Progress in History (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2012).
- ‘Adam Smith and the History of the Invisible Hand’, Journal of the History of Ideas 72 (2011), 29-49.
- 'Experimental Religion and Experimental Science in Early Modern England', Intellectual History Review 21 (2011), 413-33.
- ‘Introduction’ and ‘Natural History’, in Peter Harrison, Ronald L. Numbers and Michael H. Shank (eds.), Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), pp. 1-7; 117-148.
- ‘Early Christianity’ (with David C. Lindberg), in John Hedley Brooke and Ronald L.Numbers (eds.), Science and Religion around the World: Historical Perspectives (Oxford: OUP, 2011), pp. 67-91.
- ‘Laws of Nature, Moral Order and the Intelligibility of the Cosmos’, in Donald York, Owen Gingerich, and Shuang-Nan Zhang (eds.), The Astronomy Revolution: 400 Years of Explaining the Cosmos (New York: Taylor and Francis, 2011), pp. 375-86.
- ‘Adam Smith, Natural Theology, and the Natural Sciences’, in Adam Smith as Theologian, ed. Paul Oslington (Routledge, 2011), pp. 77-91.
- ‘A Scientific Buddhism?’, Zygon 45 (2010), 861-69.
- ‘Religion and the Early Royal Society’, Science and Christian Belief 22 (2010), 3-22.
- ‘The Cultural Authority of Natural History in Early Modern Europe’, in Denis Alexander and Ronald Numbers (eds.), Biology and Ideology: From Descartes to Dawkins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), pp. 11-35.
- ‘That René Descartes originated the Mind-Body Distinction’, in Ronald Numbers (ed.), Galileo goes to Jail and other Myths about Science and Religion (Harvard University Press, 2009), pp. 107-114.
- ‘Voluntarism and the Origins of Modern Science: A Reply to John Henry’, History of Science 47 (2009), 223-31.
- ‘Linnaeus as a Second Adam? Taxonomy and the Religious Vocation’, Zygon 44 (2009) 879-93.
- ‘The Bible and the Rise of Science: A Rejoinder’, Science and Christian Belief 21 (2009), 155-62.
- ‘Religion, the Royal Society, and the Rise of Science’, Theology and Science, 6 (2008), 255-71.
- ‘The Development of the Concept of Laws of Nature’, in Fraser Watts (ed.), Creation: Law and Probability (Ashgate, 2008), pp. 13-36.
- ‘Philosophy and the Crisis of Religion’, in James Hankins (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy, (Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 234-49.
- ‘Was There a Scientific Revolution?’, European Review 15 (2007), 445-57.Repr. in Donald A. Yerxa (ed.), Recent Themes in the History of Science and Religion (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2009)
- ‘Moral Progress and Early Modern Science’, Historically Speaking 9/1 (2007), 13-14.
- ‘“Science” and “Religion”: Constructing the Boundaries’, The Journal of Religion 86 (2006), 81-106. Portuguese tr.,‘“Ciência” e “Religião”: Construindo os Limites’, Revista de Estudos da Religião, 7 (2007), 1-33.Repr. in Thomas Dixon, Stephen Pumphrey and Geoffrey Cantor (eds.), Science and Religion: New Historical Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 23-49.
- ‘Miracles, Early Modern Science, and Rational Religion’, Church History 75 (2006), 493-511.
- ‘Reassessing the Butterfield Thesis’, Historically Speaking, 8 (2006), 7-10, 16-17.Repr. in Donald A. Yerxa (ed.), Recent Themes in the History of Science and Religion (Columbia, 2009), pp. 65-72.
- ‘The Bible and the Emergence of Modern Science’, Science and Christian Belief, 18 (2006), 115-132.Repr. in Religion and Science: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies, ed. Sara Fletcher Harding and Nancy Morvillo (Routledge, 2010).
- ‘“Fill the Earth and Subdue it”: Biblical Warrants for Colonization in Seventeenth Century England’, Journal of Religious History 29 (2005), 3-24.(Winner of the Bruce Mansfield Prize)
A full CV is available here.