The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

Peter Harrison BSc, BA (Hons), PhD (Qld), MA (Yale), MA, DLitt (Oxford), FAHA. 

Peter Harrison is an Australian Laureate Fellow and Director of CHED. He was educated at the University of Queensland and Yale University. Before taking up his present position in 2012, he was for a number of year the Idreos Professor of Science and Religion and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre at the University of Oxford. He has published extensively in the area of intellectual history with a focus on the philosophical, scientific and religious thought of the early modern period. He has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford, Yale, and Princeton, is a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2011 he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh.

His five books include, most recently, The Territories of Science and Religion (Chicago, 2015),  Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (Chicago, 2011)—an edited collection which surveys conceptions of science from antiquity to the present—and The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion (Cambridge, 2010). He has published over 70 articles or book chapters. 


Room:     Room 507, Level 5, Forgan Smith Building


Recent articles and book chapters

  • 'Sentiments of Devotion and Experimental Philosophy in Seventeenth-Century England’, Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 44 (2014), 113-133.
  • ‘Laws of Nature in Seventeenth-Century England: From Cambridge Platonism to Newtonianism’, in Eric Watkins (ed.), The Divine Order, the Human Order, and the Order of Nature: Historical Perspectives (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 127-48.
  •  'Francis Bacon, Natural Philosophy and the Cultivation of the Mind’, Perspectives on Science 20 (2012), 139-158.
  • ‘Early Modern Science and the Idea of Moral Progress’, in Donald Yerxa (ed.), British Abolitionism and the Question of Moral Progress in History (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2012).
  • ‘Adam Smith and the History of the Invisible Hand’, Journal of the History of Ideas 72 (2011), 29-49.
  •  'Experimental Religion and Experimental Science in Early Modern England', Intellectual History Review 21 (2011), 413-33.
  • ‘Introduction’ and ‘Natural History’, in Peter Harrison, Ronald L. Numbers and Michael H. Shank (eds.), Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), pp. 1-7; 117-148.
  •  ‘Early Christianity’ (with David C. Lindberg), in John Hedley Brooke and Ronald L.Numbers (eds.), Science and Religion around the World: Historical Perspectives (Oxford: OUP, 2011), pp. 67-91.
  •  ‘Laws of Nature, Moral Order and the Intelligibility of the Cosmos’, in Donald York, Owen Gingerich, and Shuang-Nan Zhang (eds.), The Astronomy Revolution: 400 Years of Explaining the Cosmos (New York: Taylor and Francis, 2011), pp. 375-86. 
  • ‘Adam Smith, Natural Theology, and the Natural Sciences’, in Adam Smith as Theologian, ed. Paul Oslington (Routledge, 2011), pp. 77-91.
  • ‘A Scientific Buddhism?’, Zygon 45 (2010), 861-69.
  • ‘Religion and the Early Royal Society’, Science and Christian Belief 22 (2010), 3-22.
  • ‘The Cultural Authority of Natural History in Early Modern Europe’, in Denis Alexander and Ronald Numbers (eds.), Biology and Ideology: From Descartes to Dawkins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010), pp. 11-35.
  • ‘That René Descartes originated the Mind-Body Distinction’, in Ronald Numbers (ed.), Galileo goes to Jail and other Myths about Science and Religion (Harvard University Press, 2009), pp. 107-114.
  • ‘Voluntarism and the Origins of Modern Science: A Reply to John Henry’, History of Science 47 (2009), 223-31.
  • ‘Linnaeus as a Second Adam? Taxonomy and the Religious Vocation’, Zygon 44 (2009) 879-93.
  • ‘The Bible and the Rise of Science: A Rejoinder’, Science and Christian Belief 21 (2009), 155-62.
  • ‘Religion, the Royal Society, and the Rise of Science’, Theology and Science, 6 (2008), 255-71.
  • ‘The Development of the Concept of Laws of Nature’, in Fraser Watts (ed.), Creation: Law and Probability (Ashgate, 2008), pp. 13-36.
  • ‘Philosophy and the Crisis of Religion’, in James Hankins (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy, (Cambridge University Press, 2007), pp. 234-49.
  • ‘Was There a Scientific Revolution?’, European Review 15 (2007), 445-57.Repr. in Donald A. Yerxa (ed.),  Recent Themes in the History of Science and Religion (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2009)
  • ‘Moral Progress and Early Modern Science’, Historically Speaking 9/1 (2007), 13-14.
  • ‘“Science” and “Religion”: Constructing the Boundaries’, The Journal of Religion 86 (2006), 81-106. Portuguese tr.,‘“Ciência” e “Religião”: Construindo os Limites’, Revista de Estudos da Religião, 7 (2007), 1-33;  Repr. in Thomas Dixon, Stephen Pumphrey and Geoffrey Cantor (eds.), Science and Religion: New Historical Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 23-49;   Estonia tr. '"Teadus'' ja ''religioon''':  Piirjooni kujundades', Akadeemia 7 (2013), 453-64, 579-90. 
  • ‘Miracles, Early Modern Science, and Rational Religion’, Church History 75 (2006), 493-511.
  • ‘Reassessing the Butterfield Thesis’, Historically Speaking, 8 (2006), 7-10, 16-17.Repr. in Donald A. Yerxa (ed.), Recent Themes in the History of Science and Religion (Columbia, 2009), pp. 65-72.
  • ‘The Bible and the Emergence of Modern Science’, Science and Christian Belief, 18 (2006), 115-132.Repr. in Religion and Science: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies, ed. Sara Fletcher Harding and Nancy Morvillo (Routledge, 2010).
  • ‘“Fill the Earth and Subdue it”: Biblical Warrants for Colonization in Seventeenth Century England’, Journal of Religious History 29 (2005), 3-24.(Winner of the Bruce Mansfield Prize)
Selected full text articles may be downloaded here.
Lectures and Podcasts may be found here.

A full CV is available here

On this site