Discovery and Revelation: Religion, Science, and Making Sense of Things (Hardcover)

Discovery and Revelation: Religion, Science, and Making Sense of Things By Peter Manseau, Andrew Ali Aghapour Cover Image

Discovery and Revelation: Religion, Science, and Making Sense of Things (Hardcover)


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An illustrated history of how scientific study and religious thought have influenced each other throughout the history of the United States.

Discovery and Revelation explores the evolving relationship between religion, science, and technology in America through the centuries as humans strive to understand the world and their place in it. With at least 40 significant and rarely seen artifacts from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the book highlights the way religious and scientific ideas have influenced each other and informed cultural change.
Religious tradition has often adapted in response to scientific discoveries, while scientists have been motivated to undertake research both because of faith and in opposition to it. Delving deep into this intersection, Discovery and Revelation examines how these two approaches to understanding the world have changed the landscape of American society. It explores scientific advancements through artifacts like: 
  • Benjamin Franklin's lightning rod: sparked debate about the relationship between weather and God. 
  • Charles Darwin's "Tree of Life" sketch: represented his theory of evolution, which some objected to as being atheistic while others thought it reflected the intent of a Creator.
  • John Thomas Scopes portrait: photograph taken ahead of his time on trial for teaching evolution against Tennessee law forbidding denial of the Biblical account of man's origin.
  • Apollo 8's live television script: the crew caused controversy for reading from the Bible for their Christmas Eve broadcast.
    Discovery and Revelation is a testament to the fascinating and multifaceted nature of faith and knowledge and how they've shaped our nation.
    PETER MANSEAU is curator of religious history at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The author of numerous books, including Songs for the Butcher's Daughter and Objects of Devotion: Religion in Early America, he writes frequently on religion and history for publications including the New York Times, Atlantic, and Wall Street Journal. ANDREW ALI AGHAPOUR is Consulting Scholar of Religion and Science at the National Museum of American History. A journalist and essayist, he writes frequently about contemporary intersections of science and religion.
    Product Details ISBN: 9781588347015
    ISBN-10: 158834701X
    Publisher: Smithsonian Books
    Publication Date: February 22nd, 2022
    Pages: 160
    Language: English
    "Smithsonian National Museum of American History scholars and authors Manseau and Aghapour ask readers to consider that science and religion are intertwined rather than being two separate entities. [...] The authors' avoidance of being preachy adds to the book's approachability as it perfectly toes the line between educational and entertaining."

    "This relatively brief study provides a general overview of the topic, so readers will appreciate the material culture visuals used throughout the text as examples of how science has shaped the faith of a nation and how faith has influenced the scientific understanding of some of the US's greatest thinkers and leaders."