1st Edition

Intersections of Religion and Astronomy

Edited By Chris Corbally, Darry Dinell, Aaron Ricker Copyright 2021
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume examines the way in which cultural ideas about "the heavens" shape religious ideas and are shaped by them in return. Our approaches to cosmology have a profound effect on the way in which we each deal with religious questions and participate in the imaginative work of public and private world-building.

    Employing an interdisciplinary team of international scholars, each chapter shows how religion and cosmology interrelate and matter for real people. Historical and contemporary case studies are included to demonstrate the lived reality of a variety of faith traditions and their interactions with the cosmos. This breadth of scope allows readers to get a unique overview of how religion, science and our view of space have, and will continue to, impact our worldviews.

    Offering a comprehensive exploration of humanity and its relationship with cosmology, this book will be an important reference for scholars of Religion and Science, Religion and Culture, Interreligious Dialogue and Theology, as well as those interested in Science and Culture and Public Education.


    Part 1 Intersections of Astronomy and Religion: Ancient and Post-Ancient Worlds

    1 Religion and Cosmology

    John T. Fitzgerald

    2 Calling Down the Spirits in the Sky: Blackfoot Astronomy and Sense of The Sacred

    Eldon Yellowhorn

    3 To Reverently Bestow the Seasons: Calendrical Narratives in Early China and Rome.

    Rebecca Robinson

    4 Celestial Deities in the Flat-Earth Buddhist Cosmos and Astrology

    Jeffrey Kotyk

    5 Early Islamic Encounters with the Rains Stars of pre-Islamic Arabian Astronomy

    Danielle Adams

    6 Cosmology and Religious Culture in Jewish and Byzantine Art

    Shulamit Laderman

    7 In Search of the Stars of David: Situating the Rabbinic Jewish Astronomical Tradition in World Cultural Astronomy Scholarship

    Andrea D. Lobel

    Part 2 The European Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution

    8 The Cosmos of a Big God: Brahe, Kepler, Bruno and the Sizes of the Stars in a Copernican Universe

    Christopher M. Graney

    9 Apocalyptic Themes in Isaac Newton’s Astronomical Physics

    Stephen D. Snobelen

    10 Georges Lemaître’s Dual Life in Cosmology and Theology

    Simon Mitton and Rodney D. Holder

    11 Albert Einstein’s Cosmic Religion

    Nicholas Campion

    Part 3 The Modern World

    12 Market Predictions: Astrology in Modern India

    Parna Sengupta

    13 Faster than the Speed of NASA: The Tenth Planet, Prophecy and the Universalization of a Gujarati Village Goddess

    Darry Dinnell

    14 Radiance and Darkness: Japanese Buddhist Cosmographies

    Melissa Anne-Marie Curley

    15 Abductions Angelic and Alien: The Changing Cosmologies of Otherworldly Journeys

    James F. McGrath

    16 Astrophysics and Religion

    Arnold O. Benz

    17 The Epistemology of Flat Earth Theory: Evidentialism, Suspicion, and the Ethics of Belief

    Jennifer Guyver

    Part 4 Future Directions

    18 Astrobiology, Astroethics, and Astrotheology in Conversation

    Grace Wolf-Chase

    19 Religious Traditions and Religious Imagination in Cosmos Contexts

    John Hart

    20 Wonder Brokers: Scientific Wonder as Spiritual Authority in the Cosmos Series (1980 and 2014)

    Aaron Ricker



    Aaron Ricker received his PhD from McGill University. His publications include Ancient Letters and the Purpose of Romans (2020). His research interests include the social-scientific analysis of religion, biblical literature, and popular culture.

    Christopher J. Corbally is Associate Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Arizona, a research astronomer at the Vatican Observatory, and President of the National Committee for Astronomy, Vatican City State, International Astronomical Union. His publications include The Emergence of Religion in Human Evolution, with Margaret Boone Rappaport (2019).

    Darry Dinnell received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from McGill University. He has taught at McGill and at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan.