God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science
James Hannam

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

God’s Philosophers celebrates the forgotten achievements of the medieval world. Focusing on the rise of science, it shows how natural philosophers of the Middle Ages laid the foundations of the ‘Scientific Revolution’. Without their work, there would have been no Copernicus, no Galileo and no Newton.

By emphasising the important positive role of Christianity on medieval science, God’s Philosophers contributes to the current debate about the relationship between science and religion which is still raging in the media. The book makes it impossible to maintain that the medieval Church held back the rise of science.

Combining the author’s original research with the latest scholarship, God’s Philosophers presents a radical narrative that will challenge and intrigue readers. It provides the detail and quotations from primary sources to prove its controversial thesis whilst also remaining lively and accessible to the general reader. It assumes no background knowledge and clearly explains complex ideas in a simple manner using everyday examples.

It was shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2010 and the British Society for the History of Science Dingle Book Prize 2011.

Book Details:

  • Author: James Hannam
  • Published Year: 2009
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Icon Books
    • US: Regnery
    • Holland: Nieuw Amsterdam
    • Russia: Centrepolygraph Publishing House
    • Turkey: Dogus Grubu
    • Germany: Sankt Ulrich Verlag GmbH.
    • Brazil: Edicoes Rosari
    • Italy: Landau
    • Portugal: Alma Dos Livros.
    • Saudi Arabia: Sumo
James Hannam

James Hannam

Dr James Hannam took his first degree in Physics at Oxford University before embarking on a successful financial career in the City. Then, after completing an MA in Historical Research at Birkbeck College London, James moved to Cambridge University to study for PhD at its renowned History of Science department. While there, he received several prizes and scholarships. His thesis was on the reception of medieval science in the sixteenth century.In his spare time, James is a keen cook and enjoys growing his own vegetables. He lives in Kent with his wife and two children.
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Book Reviews

  • "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."
    The Scotsman
  • "Here, in short, is a readable book, aimed at an intelligent but ignorant layman. You'll enjoy it."
    Daily Telegraph
  • "A very useful general survey of a difficult topic, and a robust defence of an unfairly maligned age."
    The Spectator
  • "This book should be on the shelves of every school and university library. Any godparent looking for a suitable present for a sixth former who already has Nicholas King’s translation of the New Testament need look no further."
  • "...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
  • "As well as a thrilling history of unexpected and unrecognised invention and innovation, Hannam shows the debt modern science and technology owe to what mistakenly have been called the ‘dark ages'. This book is written by a scientist but the word is not used in it; it deals with the gestation of science before modern science came about and therefore there were no scientists. The innovative narrative is illustrated by sixteen diagrams, photographs and maps. Suggestions for further reading with pertinent assessments, a chronological table from the end of Rome to the death of Galileo, a list of key characters, an extensive bibliography and a full index are all provided. It is a book to be reflected upon and kept in one's personal library for periodic consultation. The price is remarkable for an academic publication of this magnitude and quality. "
    The Historian