A Chaos of Delight
Science, Religion and Myth and the Shaping of Western Thought
Humans throughout history have sought ways of understanding their place within the world. Religion, science and myth have been at the forefront of this quest for meaning. A Chaos of Delight examines how various cultures – from the early Sumerians, Egyptians and Greeks to contemporary Western society – have looked at the same phenomena and devised totally different world views. The rise of modern science is examined, alongside questions of evolution and the origins of life. This comprehensive volume is an essential read for students and scholars interested in the history of ideas and the role of religion, science and myth in the development of Western thought.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. Science, Religion and Myth: Making Sense of the World 2. The Sumerians: Life among the Gods 3. Ancient Egyptians: Optimism and Opportunity 4. The Presocratics: From Myth to Reason 5. Classical Greece: Different Roads to Truth 6. Early Christianity: The Historical Road to One God 7. Medieval Christendom: Faith and Reason 8. Triumphant Rise of Western Science 9. The Big Bang: Starlight to Superstrings 10. Origins of Life: Molecules to Machines 11. Humankind's Evolutionary Origins and Emergence of Mind 12. Tradition at the Crossroads: Seeking Harmony in Diversity
Geoffrey P. Dobson, James Cook University, Australia
"A remarkable panorama of the human understanding of the natural and metaphysical world from the first civilizations to the present day."
John Baines, University of Oxford, UK
"Breathtaking in its daring, the book explores the two ways which humanity has used to seek meaning and make sense of the world, namely religion and science. The result is a highly erudite summary of belief systems from early Sumerian to the monotheistic religions; and an eminently accessible history of science, particularly of the last 500 years."
Sir Gustav Nossal, University of Sydney, Australia
"It is definitely useful for teachers and students wanting to make a quick introductory acquaintance with decisive developments in modern science and a brief overview of mythopoetic and religious systems of thought in the West."
Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses