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Science and Religion from Antiquity to the Present: Reference Sources

This is a guide to researching science and religion from antiquity to the present. Last updated 06-27-2023

Reference Sources

Among commonly used reference sources are subject dictionaries and encyclopedias and biography sources; use them to find quick facts and information about people, places, topics, or events, to find further reading references, or to get ideas to help broaden or narrow down your topic.

Science in the Ancient World from Antiquity through the Middle Ages

Explores the history of science in the ancient world from prehistory through roughly 1300 CE, looking not just at Greece and Rome but at developments in Africa, Asia, and the Americas as well.  Chronology.  Bibliography. 

Science, Religion, and Society, an Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Controversy Remote Storage BL 240.3 .S37 2007 v. 1-3

Chapters by various specialists covering: general overviews; historical perspectives; creation/cosmos/origins of the universe; ecology/evolution/the natural world; consciousness/mind/the brain; healers/healing; dying/death; genetics/religion.

Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science  Main BL 240.3 .O94 2008

Chapters by specialists on: various religions and science; religion in light of contemporary science; major fields of religion/science; methodological approaches to the study of religion and science; central theoretical debates;  values issues in religion and science.  Each chapter has a bibliography

Oxford Illustrated History of Science Main Q 125 .O94 2017

Encyclopedia of Science and Religion  Main BL 240.3 .E53 2003 v. 1-2

The over 400 entries vary in length from a paragraph to several pages.  They are signed and there are further reading references.  Articles cover: behavior and human sciences; cognitive and neurosciences; computer science and information technology; physical science and cosmology; ecology; ethics and values; evolution; genetics; feminist issues; math; methodology; medicine; philosophy; biology; paleontology and anthropological sciences; technology; various faiths; people (biographical entries.)

Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science Reference Q 125 .O86 2003

Signed entries ranging in length from a paragraph to a couple of pages.  Further reading references.  List of winners of Nobel Science prizes with dates.  Available both online and in paper.

History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition, an Encyclopedia  Main BL 245 .H57 2000

Chapters by individual scholars on: the relationship of science and religion; intellectual foundations and historical backgrounds; specific religious traditions and chronological periods; astronomy and cosmology; the physical sciences; the earth sciences; biological sciences; medicine and psychology; occult sciences.  Some chapters are biographical.  Each chapter has a bibliography. 

Chronology of the Evolution-Creationism Controversy.  Main GN 281.4 .M65 2010

New Catholic Encyclopedia Main  BX 841 .C25 2002 v. 1-15

Roman Catholic viewpoint.  For many more encyclopedias and dictionaries in the religion field see the research guide called Religions of the World.

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas Main CB 9 .N49 2005 v. 1-6

New edition expands adds many articles on non-Western European topics.  Articles of substantial length, contributed by an international roster of scholars, on a wide range of topics in intellectual history, emphasizing interdisciplinary connections and cross-cultural relations. Neither edition has biographical articles.

Medieval Science, Technology and Medicine: an Encyclopedia Main Q 124.97 .M43 2005

Encyclopedia of the Renaissance Reference CB 361 .E53 1999 v. 1-6

Produced in association with the Renaissance Society of America. Presents nearly 1,200 entries by over 600 scholars. Articles range from less than 1 page to 25 ("Humanism") and 46 ("Renaissance") pages. Contents cover the full range of culture and history. Time span begins with Italy in 1350, adds the rest of Europe by 1450, and ends in the early 17th century. Addresses trends in recent Renaissance historiography (including humanism throughout Europe, increased emphasis on social history, and the study of women) and has thoroughly incorporated them into the text. Bibliographies often feature a section of primary sources and secondary materials. Many illustrations, including colored plates, maps of regions, countries, and cities, a chronology, and genealogical tables.

Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures 

The purpose of the encyclopedia is to… legitimize the study of other cultures’ science and to engage in a mutual exchange of ideas.  Most entries are several pages and have further reading references.  All are signed.

American Historical Association’s Guide to Historical Literature Reference and Main D 20 .A55 1995

See volume one, pp. 77-121, “Science, Technology, and Medicine.” Recommends books on history of science topics.  Short annotations.

Reader's Guide to the History of Science.  Ed. by Arne Hessenbruch.  Remote Storage Q 125 .R335 2000

Dictionary arrangement, with bibliographical essays on topics, people, places, concepts, ideas. See p. 639-647 for a several articles on religion and science.

Parliament, Inventions and Patents, a Research Guide and Bibliography  Business Library oversize KD 1361 .J64 2018

Author is Phillip Johnson, prof. of commercial law at Cardiff University, Wales.  Goal is to identify all the Parliamentary material relating to patents and supporting inventions up to the beginning of the 1976-77 Session, when the European patent system began.  Deals with the development of patent law, oversight of the work of the Patent Office, and [patent] awards given to individuals, in order for scholars to be able to study more completely the history of technology, invention, and patent law.  8 parts: public legislation (acts and bills), private acts and bills, Old Scottish and Irish Parliaments' Acts relating to inventions, list of statutes and rules passed about parliamentary material, rewards granted by Parliament, the various Parliamentary papers and reports into the patent system, the petitions lodged with Parliament relating to patent law and inventions, questions asked of ministers and mentions of patents and significant mentions of inventions.  Indexed by inventor, company, invention/product, parliamentarian (MP), legislation (by year), cases, and general index. 

Great Events from History Series

Great Events from History II. Science and Technology  Main Q 125 .G825 1991 v. 1-5

Ancient World: Prehistory – 476 C.E. Main D 65 .G74 2004 v. 1-2

Middle Ages 477-1453 Remote Storage D 119 .G74 2005 v. 1-2

Renaissance and Early Modern Era 1454-1600 Main D 228 .G73 2005 v. 1-2

17th Century 1601-1700 Remote Storage D 246 .G68 2006 v. 1-2

18th Century 1701-1800 Remote Storage D 286 .G74 2006 v. 1-2

19th Century 1801-1900 Remote Storage D 358 .G74 2007 v. 1-4

Arrangement is chronological with short chapters about significant events in history.  Summary of the event.  Significance of the event.  Further reading.

Who’s Who in Theology and Science Main BL 240.2 .W514 1996

International biographical and bibliographical guide to individuals and organizations interested in the interaction of theology and science.

Biographical Dictionary of Scientists Remote Storage Q 141 .B528 2000 v. 1-2

Entries, not signed, range in length from a paragraph to a page or so.  Some illustrations. Further reading references.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Scientists Reference Q 141 .B53 2009

Short entries, unsigned, no further reading references.

Dictionary of Scientific Biography Remote Storage Q 141 .D53 1981 v. 1-18

Signed, lengthy entries, with bibliographic references.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) Main DA 28 .O95 v. 1-60

Scholarly, signed, biographical entries, with further reading references for famous deceased British men and women.

American National Biography (ANB) Main CT 213 .A68 1999 v. 1-24

Scholarly, signed, biographical entries, with further reading references for famous deceased American men and women.