Cover: The Great Rift: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Religion-Science Divide, from Harvard University PressCover: The Great Rift in HARDCOVER

The Great Rift

Literacy, Numeracy, and the Religion-Science Divide

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674983632

Publication Date: 04/16/2018

Academic Trade

520 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

23 halftones, 38 line illustrations, 13 tables

World

In their search for truth, contemporary religious believers and modern scientific investigators hold many values in common. But in their approaches, they express two fundamentally different conceptions of how to understand and represent the world. Michael E. Hobart looks for the origin of this difference in the work of Renaissance thinkers who invented a revolutionary mathematical system—relational numeracy. By creating meaning through numbers and abstract symbols rather than words, relational numeracy allowed inquisitive minds to vault beyond the constraints of language and explore the natural world with a fresh interpretive vision.

The Great Rift is the first book to examine the religion-science divide through the history of information technology. Hobart follows numeracy as it emerged from the practical counting systems of merchants, the abstract notations of musicians, the linear perspective of artists, and the calendars and clocks of astronomers. As the technology of the alphabet and of mere counting gave way to abstract symbols, the earlier “thing-mathematics” metamorphosed into the relational mathematics of modern scientific investigation. Using these new information symbols, Galileo and his contemporaries mathematized motion and matter, separating the demonstrations of science from the linguistic logic of religious narration.

Hobart locates the great rift between science and religion not in ideological disagreement but in advances in mathematics and symbolic representation that opened new windows onto nature. In so doing, he connects the cognitive breakthroughs of the past with intellectual debates ongoing in the twenty-first century.

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: Our Universe: An Astronomer’s Guide, by Jo Dunkley, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Jo Dunkley, author of Our Universe: An Astronomer’s Guide

Jo Dunkley combines her expertise as an astrophysicist with her talents as a teacher and writer in Our Universe: An Astronomer’s Guide, a lively and exceptionally clear introduction to the structure and history of the universe and its enduring mysteries. We spoke with her about the book and her seemingly limitless topic.

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.