Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Genesis and Geology

Genesis and Geology

A Study of the Relations of Scientific Thought, Natural Theology, and Social Opinion in Great Britain, 1790–1850, With a Foreword by Nicolaas A. Rupke and a New Preface by the Author

Charles Coulston Gillispie

ISBN 9780674344815

Publication date: 09/01/1996

First published in 1951, Genesis and Geology describes the background of social and theological ideas and the progress of scientific researches that, between them, produced the religious difficulties that afflicted the development of science in early industrial England. The book makes clear that the furor over On the Origin of Species was nothing new: earlier discoveries in science, particularly geology, had presented major challenges, not only to the literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, but even more seriously to the traditional idea that Providence controls the order of nature with an eye to fulfilling divine purpose.

A new Foreword by Nicolaas Rupke places this book in the context of the last forty-five years of scholarship in the social history of evolutionary thought. Everyone interested in the history of modern science, in ideas, and in nineteenth-century England will want to read this book.


  • Here…is a book to be read by all who wish to appreciate the scientific and social background of the half-century or so preceding the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.



  • Charles Coulston Gillispie was Dayton Stockton Professor of History, Emeritus, Princeton University.
  • Nicolaas A. Rupke is Professor and Director, Institute for the History of Science, Göttingen University.

Book Details

  • 351 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press
  • Foreword by Nicolaas Rupke