Christian History Timeline: Faith and Science
[Symbolic alchemical watercolour drawings—Wellcome collection / [cc by 4.0] wikimedia]
— c. 370 Basil the Great writes the earliest known Hexameron, a commentary on the Genesis account of creation.
— c. 397 Augustine writes Confessions, which includes theological and scientific commentary on Genesis.
— 416 Augustine publishes The Literal Meaning of Genesis.
— c. 530–34 John Philoponus, perhaps the first Christian scientist in history, writes On the Eternity of the World against Aristotle.
— c. 703 The Venerable Bede begins his Hexameron.
— 999 Mathematician Gerbert of Aurillac becomes pope as Sylvester II.
— 1088 University of Bologna, considered the oldest European university, is founded.
— 1096 We have the earliest evidence of formal teaching at what became the University of Oxford.
— c. 1150 Hildegard of Bingen writes Physica and Causes and Cures.
— 1200 University of Paris is officially chartered.
— 1216 Dominican Order is founded; many Dominicans will become leaders in science and universities.
— 1230 John of Sacrobosco publishes De sphaera mundi.
— c. 1235 Robert Grosseteste writes his Hexameron.
— 1249 Albert the Great begins writing his influential commentaries on Aristotle.
— 1267 Roger Bacon sends his Opus Majus to the pope.
— 1277 Bishop of Paris, Étienne Tempier, issues a condemnation of interpretations of Aristotle that fall outside of Christian orthodoxy.
— c. 1290 Thomas Bradwardine, foremost of the mathematicians and philosophers called the “Oxford Calculators,” is born.
— c. 1350 John Buridan develops the concept of impetus.
— 1413 University of St Andrews is founded.
— c. 1450 Metallurgist Johannes Gutenberg develops movable type, enabling mass printing.
— 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus publishes De Revolutionibus, laying out his heliocentric theory.
— 1596 Johannes Kepler writes the first public defense of the Copernican system.
— 1609 Kepler publishes his first two laws of planetary motion.
— 1616 The Roman Inquisition issues its first judgment against Galileo.
— 1617 Kepler begins publishing the Epitome of Copernican Astronomy and sends a copy to Galileo.
— 1619 Kepler develops a musical notation for planetary movement.
— 1630 Galileo finishes his Dialogue and obtains permission for its printing from the Vatican.
— 1633 The Inquisition convicts Galileo of heresy; his sentence is commuted to house arrest, and he continues experimenting.
— 1660 Robert Boyle and others found the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge.
— 1665 Boyle publishes the popular Occasional Reflections Upon Several Subjects.
— 1668 Newton builds his first reflecting telescope.
— 1687 Isaac Newton publishes his three laws of motion and the law of universal gravitation.
— 1686 Boyle publishes A Free Enquiry Into the Vulgarly Receiv’d Notion of Nature.
— 1704 Newton combines mathematics and experiments in his particle theory of light.
— 1821 Michael Faraday makes his confession of faith as a Sandemanian; the same year he discovers electromagnetic rotation.
— 1825 Faraday begins his Christmas lectures, which explain science to children.
— 1839 Faraday begins publishing Experimental Researches in Electricity.
— 1851 Edward Hitchcock publishes The Religion of Geology and Its Connected Sciences.
— 1856 James Clerk Maxwell becomes a professor at the University of Aberdeen.
— 1873 Maxwell publishes A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism.
— 1874 John William Draper publishes History of the Conflict between Religion and Science.
— 1881 Maxwell publishes An Elementary Treatise on Electricity.
— 1896 Andrew Dickson White publishes A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom; Booker T. Washington invites George Washington Carver to head the agriculture department at Tuskegee Institute.
— 1906 Carver begins a popular Bible class at Tuskegee.
— 1908 Henrietta Swan Leavitt begins publishing in the field of astronomy.
— 1921 Carver testifies before Congress in support of a peanut tariff; the incident makes him famous.
— 1927 Priest Georges Lemaître proposes what becomes known as the “Big Bang” theory.
By the editors
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #134 in 2020]
The clergy behind science as we know it
Enlightenment-era pastors didn’t oppose modern science. They helped advance it.Jennifer Powell McNutt
Science vs. religion
What is really at war here?James Ungureanu
A world of love and light
Christian theology shaped modern science through the work of Johannes Kepler and Robert BoyleEdward B. Davis
The “religion of geology”
Edward HitchcockEdward B. Davis
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