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Geology and Religion: A History of Harmony and Hostility

Product Code: SP310
Series: GSL Special Publications - print copy
Author/Editor: Edited by M Kolbl-Ebert
Publication Date: 11 March 2009
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Special Publication 310

For thousands of years, religious ideas have shaped the thoughts and actions of human beings. Many of the early geological concepts were initially developed within this context. The long-standing relationship between geology and religious thought, which has been sometimes indifferent, sometimes fruitful and sometimes full of conflict, is discussed from a historical point of view. This relationship continues into the present. Although Christian fundamentalists attack evolution and related palaeontological findings as well as the geological evidence for the age of the Earth, mainstream theologians strive for a fruitful dialogue between science and religion. Much of what is written and discussed today can only be understood within the historical perspective.

This book considers the development of geology from mythological approaches towards the European Enlightenment, biblical or geological Flood and the age of the Earth, geology within ‘religious’ organizations, biographical case studies of geological clerics and religious geologists, religion and evolution, and historical aspects of creationism and its motives.

Type: Book
Ten Digit ISBN: 1-86239-269-2
Thirteen Digit ISBN: 9781862392694
Publisher: GSL
Binding: Hardback
Pages: 368
Weight: 1.00 kg



Geology and religion: a historical perspective on current problems, M Kölbl-Ebert
Jean-André de Luc (1727–1817): an atheist’s comparative view of the historiography, D R Oldroyd

From mythological approaches towards the European Enlightenment

Water and Inca cosmogony: myths, geology and engineering in the Peruvian Andes, L F Mazadiego, O Puche & S A M Hervá

Explanations of the Earth’s features and origin in pre-Meiji Japan, P Barbaro

The providence of mineral generation in the sermons of Johann Mathesius (1504–1565), J A Norris

Earthquakes as God’s punishment in 17th- and 18th-century Spain, A Udías

The idiom of a six day creation and global depictions in Theories of the Earth, K V Magruder

The fossil proboscideans of Utica (Tunisia), a key to the ‘giant’ controversy, from Saint Augustine (424) to Peiresc (1632), G Godard

Flood conceptions in Vallisneri’s thought, F Luzzini

The Flood and the age of the Earth

Discussing the age of the Earth in 1779 in Portugal, M S Pinto & F Amador

On the Earth’s revolutions: floods and extinct volcanoes in northern Italy at the end of the eighteenth century, A Candela

Scheuchzer, von Haller and de Luc: geological world-views and religious backgrounds in opposition or collaboration? C Schweizer

Biblical Flood and geological deluge: the amicable dissociation of geology and Genesis, M J S Rudwick

‘Our favourite science’: Lord Bute and James Parkinson searching for a Theory of the Earth, C L E Lewis

Cuvier’s attitude toward creation and the biblical Flood, P Taquet

Geology within ‘religious’ organizations

Jesuits’ studies of earthquakes and seismological stations, A Udías

‘Red and expert’: Chinese glaciology during the Mao Tse-tung period (1958–1976), J Zhang & D R Oldroyd

Geological clerics and Christian geologists

Adam Sedgwick (1785–1873): geologist and evangelical, M B Roberts

Some nineteenth- and twentieth-century Australian geological clerics, D Branagan

Geological observations by the Reverend Charles P. N. Wilton (1795–1859) in New South Wales and his views on the relationship between religion and science, W Mayer

Franz X. Mayr, the spiritual father of the Jura-Museum, G K Viohl

Religious convictions as support in dangerous expeditions: Hermann Abich (1806–1886) and Heinrich Barth (1821–1865), E Seibold & I Seibold

Reverent and exemplary: ‘dinosaur man’ Friedrich von Huene (1875–1969), S Turner


James Buckman (1841–1884): the scientific career of an English Darwinian thwarted by religious prejudice, H S Torrens

Franz Unger and Sebastian Brunner on evolution and the visualization of Earth history; a debate between liberal and conservative Catholics, M Klemun

Geology and Genesis in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italy: a preliminary Assessment, E Vaccari

History of creationism

Natural theology in the eighteenth century, as exemplified in the writings of Élie Bertrand (1713–1797), a Swiss naturalist and Protestant pastor, K B Bork

The reception of geology in the Dutch Reformed tradition: the case of Herman Bavinck (1854–1921), D A Young

From the beginning: faith and geology at evangelical Wheaton College, S O Moshier, D E Maas & J K Greenberg

Theodicic creationism: its membership and motivations, R A Peters

Theology and creationism

The history of the doctrine of creation; a Catholic perspective, M Ostermann

An Anglican priest’s perspective on the doctrine of creation in the church today, M B Roberts



Ralph O'Connon

Thanks to the care lavished on it by Kolbl-Ebert, the book is immaculately edited. Its value for the scholar and student is enhanced by the full bibliographies that accompany each essay, by the many useful and superbly reproduced illustrations, and by the index, which – refreshingly, for an edited volume – contains objects and concepts as well as people’s names

Stephen M. Rowland

the book is very well edited, well illustrated, and free of typographical errors. …..This book offers an excellent sampling of the history of that relationship, presented in many more chapters than I have space to discuss in this brief review.

T.J.A. Reijers

What fascinated me in particular was the glimpse thrown on exotic areas of activity and ways of thinking for instance in ‘the Peru of the Incas, in pre-Meiji Japan, and in Mao Zedong’s communist China. These are topics that are not commonly broached by western geologists.
…a fascinating book with provocative contributions on unusual topics that have a bearing on the development of the science geology. The book is warmly recommended to all natural scientist interested in history, and in particular to geologists that want to widen their outlook on their chosen profession.

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