History of Science: Antiquity to 1700 : The Great Courses: History of Science

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Lawrence M. Principe
  • Series: The Great Courses: History of Science
  • 18 hrs and 30 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

For well over 2,000 years, much of our fundamental "desire to know" has focused on science. Our commitment to science and technology has been so profound that these stand as probably the most powerful influences on human culture. To truly understand our Western heritage, our contemporary society, and ourselves as individuals, we need to know what science is and how it developed.
In this 36-lecture series, one of science's most acclaimed teachers takes you through science's complex evolution of thought and discovery, often originating from ideas that by today's technological perspective might be considered ridiculous or humorous, although many are still relevant today. You'll consider science's often fascinating history, from ancient times to the Scientific Revolution, in terms of several penetrating questions, including two of special importance: Who pursued science, and why? What happened, and why?
In the hands of Professor Principe, the history of science becomes far more than just a litany of dates, significant individuals, and breakthrough discoveries. In examining the evolution of science, he restores the vitally important context that has been lost from the discussion, showing how science is characterized by ideas that link eras widely separated in time. A primary theme is the relationship between science and religion. Today, we tend to see the two as separate and even antagonistic. Theology, in fact, is a principal motivator for scientific inquiry. And in the Middle Ages, Christianity and Islam were of paramount importance in preserving and furthering scientific knowledge.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Heavy on Theology

Really great commentary, interesting perspective even if overtly biased (somewhat revisionist).

Even though some of the back stories were good, there were a lot of ones about cathedral imagery and far fewer about the interesting lives that the "scientists" (natural philosophers) led. If you enjoy hearing slightly more drawn out biographies about the scientists, then I highly recommend the very enjoyable Concise History of Everything, which is also on Audible.

I can't critique the professor too harshly though because it was informative to have a theologian scholar reflect on this time period when religion and natural philosophy were so often intertwined. Sometimes I was left wishing the professor understood the actual science behind the history as well as he knew to draw on obscure biblical references when discussing the divinity of natural philosophy. The Arabic scientific knowledge chapters were presented well but were way too brief. Eastern learning was entirely left out.
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- Martin Yamane

Excellent narration and story, but

It needs to be renamed to 'history of science in the West'.
The author needs to at least acknowledge that it doesn't cover scientific contributions from other parts of the world - especially India and China.
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- Jagat

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses