Templeton Foundation grant results in new course


CORVALLIS - An Oregon State University history professor has received a grant from the Templeton Foundation that will result in a new course on science and religion.

Gary Ferngren will teach the course at OSU this spring term, building on his work as editor of The Encyclopedia of the History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition. Scheduled for publication by Garland of New York in the year 2000, the encyclopedia will survey the relationship between science and religion in more than 100 articles written by leading scholars.

The OSU course will examine critical issues in the historical relationship between science and religion.

"It's a subject that is attracting quite a bit of interest," Ferngren said. "Both Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report have done cover stories on religion and science. The interest, in part, has grown out of scholarship questioning the assumption that the relationship between science and religion has always been an adversarial one."

Ferngren said the OSU course will look at celebrated conflicts between the disciplines, including Galileo and Darwinian controversies, as well as the changing relations between Christianity and science.

Other topics that will be explored include medieval science and religion; the Copernican revolution and early Protestantism; 18th century deism and the mechanistic view of the universe; Genesis, evolution and geology; modern physics and 20th century cosmologies; and contemporary compatibilities and tension.

An OSU faculty member since 1970, Ferngren is a recipient of the university's Elizabeth Ritchie Award for Outstanding Teaching.

The course, History 415/515, "Science and Religion," will be offered on Tuesday afternoons from 2 to 4:50 p.m. For more information, call Gary Ferngren at 737-1257.