Often portrayed as enemies or opposites, science and faith were intertwined and often indistinguishable from medieval times through the 18th century, avers Cambridge historian Derek Wilson in this revisionist survey. Even the discoverers of the circulatory system, the laws of gravity, and the movement of the earth around the sun held beliefs that originated in folk religion and the pagan past, and the Catholic Church itself was permeated with a belief in astrology and other magical traditions. Chronicling how scientists drew inspiration from religion and superstitions on route to setting themselves apart and formulating the scientific method, Wilson's history includes such figures as Voltaire, Paracelsus, Martin Luther, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and René Descartes.
"Wilson ably posits that most intellectuals sought a middle way between extreme rationalism and radical religious thought, and in their embrace of both religion and science contributed invaluably to a search for understanding that continues to this day."—Library Journal