Marburg Journal of Religion https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004 <p>The purpose of <strong>Marburg Journal of Religion</strong> is to publish articles on empirical and theoretical studies of religion.</p> Institute for Comparative Cultural Research - Study of Religions and Anthropology en-US Marburg Journal of Religion 1612-2941 Overall copyright is assigned to Marburg Journal of Religion. Authors retain copyright for individual contributions and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a <a href="/ep/0004/manager/setup/&quot;http:/creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/">Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike</a> License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.<br />An author may give permission for an article published here to be published elsewhere, provided that the source is indicated in the form "First published in Marburg Journal of Religion, Volume 00 (year), Number 00".<br /><br /><br /> Deliberating Religion, Science and Progress in the Global Public Sphere: Introduction https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8291 <p>This introductory essay presents the framework for a collection of papers, published together here, that originated in the IAHR Special Conference Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts: Dynamics of Change, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. There exist numerous studies of the relationship between religion, science and technology, held in general terms as well as applied in specific case studies. Although this collection spans widely diverse cases – geographically, historically, culturally, topically – it makes a distinct contribution to the field through the combined focus on global ‘systemic’ communication and transformations, and the dynamic, even instrumental, relations between ontology and politics. Thus, we show that boundaries between ‘religion’ and ‘science’ are in constant flux, subject to people’s objectives as well as state policy. We can show this by including both descriptive studies and applied, constructive argumentation for specific interpretations of ‘religious’ materials. Some might argue that ‘application’ has no place in Religious studies, only in Theology. However, Religious studies discourses are themselves implicated in constructing boundaries between ‘religion’ and ‘science’, which change over time. Including ‘application studies’ therefore does not make us ‘theologians’. Rather, it adds analytical insights into how ontology and cosmology has been, and still is, employed to achieve scientific objectives, which in turn are politically informed.</p> Ulrika Mårtensson Copyright (c) 2020 Maike Wachs 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8291 The Cosmology of Lists in Ancient and Contemporary Societies https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8293 <p>This essay is my keynote address to the conference <em>Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts: Dynamics of Change</em>, NTNU, Trondheim (2012), on the topic of ‘lists’: omen compendia, lists of gods, lists of the names of a god, catalogues of saints, lists of canonical books, lists of angels, catalogues of things that are forbidden and things that are allowed, lists of heresies. Religions would have looked very different without the aid of lists. And where would science have been without taxonomies, registers, lexicons, catalogues, statistics and scientific bibliographies? List making is a universal human technology. It is powerful, because the purpose of lists is to control the world. Making lists usually implies taking power over something and someone. Lists may serve religious as well as scientific purposes, or both at the same time. They reflect and produce knowledge and have cosmological implications because in them things that are seen as belonging together are kept together, and things, which are seen as different from each other, are kept apart. The nature and functions of lists are explored here with examples are from three periods and areas: Mesopotamia, the Roman Empire and contemporary Norway.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts: Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Ingvild Sælid Gilhus Copyright (c) 2020 Maike Wachs 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8293 Religion and Medicine in Ancient India https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8294 <p>This study of Ayurveda and the treatise <em>Caraka Samhita</em> (<em>ca.</em> 200 BCE) illustrates what the introductory essay defines as the ‘systemic’ nature of globalisation. Ayurveda was practiced within the Indian Vedic religious system by specific experts, and intended exclusively for kings and priests. The <em>Caraka Samhita</em> describes a holistic system where the Vedic deities, the cosmos, and the human organs are interconnected. Alongside ontological schemes and prescriptions of religious practices, the <em>Caraka Samhita </em>describes the human anatomy and treatments based on empirical medical practice. It is argued here that the blending of religious and medical practices is not random or un-reflected. As opposed to early modern medicine where health was seen as the absence of disease but in line with the WHO’s more holistic definition of health, the <em>Caraka Samhita</em> combines ontology, religion, social rules and medicine. However, in post-colonial India and in the global economy, Ayurveda has become a commercial brand of ‘alternative medicine’ products, free for purchase by anyone but detached from the holistic system of the <em>Caraka Samhita</em>. The study implies that the globalised function systems limit Ayurveda to ‘health’, and that the detachment from its previous religious and social dimensions has deprived it of its holistic therapeutic usefulness.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Tinni Goswami Copyright (c) 2020 Maike Wachs 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8294 Interpreting gene myths in a globalized world https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8295 <p>This essay critically examines Peter Beyer’s system-theoretical definition of religion, his concept of the function of religion in global society, and his definition of global core values. The empirical examples used for this critique illustrate how religion serves as a resource in public debate, and how academics use religion to explain public opinions and attitudes. They focus on genetic science and technology, noting references to myths and religious heritage The concept of myth as an analytical tool in analyses of the European barometer surveys is also examined, while tracing the history of ideas behind public opinion on genetic science and gene technology in Europe and the USA. In contrast to Beyer’s analysis, the core values at stake are not the (neo-)liberal values which he claims represent global society, i.e. equality, progress, justice, but rather sustainability, the relation between past, present and future life, and concerns about the undisputable framework of life and death, which overlap with classical theological projects. When references to myth and religion are made, they appear useful in the context of modern genetic science and gene technology because they are <em>not</em> about belief. Instead, such references appear closely tied to memories of recent history, to modern wartime science and modern big science failure. Since the empirical examples represent interpretative processes, system theories are unsuited to my analysis. To understand how references to religious texts and heritage work I use a classical hermeneutical stance rooted in philosophy and religious studies. My methodological conclusion is that hermeneutics offers a relevant perspective for the analysis of how religion works in discussions of science and new technology in the globalized world.</p> <p>This paper is a contribution to the collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction to this collection see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Anna Lydia Svalastog Copyright (c) 2020 Maike Wachs 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8295 Post-rational eco-communicological aporias, pre-rational eco-communicological euporias: the “magical worldview” and restoring a meaningful man-nature dialogue https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8296 <p>This essay argues that contemporary Global Society’s biggest ‘communication challenge’ is to find ways to interface and dialogue meaningfully with its more-than-human <em>Umwelt</em>. It shows that communication strategies premised by the tenets of ‘constructivism’ and ‘realism’ do not work. Neither do ‘consiliant’ syntheses of these two approaches. Instead, it suggests that a better solution lies in emulating the communication strategies associated with the ‘magical worldview’. Specifically, it focuses on (1) why magical rationalism assumed that Nature had a voice and a language (2) how the intelligence related by this language was made a foundation and an operational component of societal values and practices and, finally, (3) why there is nothing far-fetched about embracing this rationalism, factoring it into our ideas about ‘progress’ and operationalising it as a means to negotiate an <em>entente cordiale</em> between Nature and Global Society.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Fionn Bennett Copyright (c) 2020 Fionn Bennett 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8296 Ontological excess and metonymy in early-modern descriptions of Brazil: an amodern para-scientific approach to nature https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8297 <p>This essay relies on and furthers a hypothesis advanced in previous research: that the well-known eccentricities to be found in the early-modern <em>corpus </em>of the Portuguese colonizers of Brazil—its references to entities like monsters and demons, its bizarre descriptions, and odd classification systems—can be explained in view of a certain style of thinking, addressing a specific ontological concern. Ontology emerges here as a structural differentiating factor between radically distinct kinds of approach to reality, and the notions of excess and metonymy help us to characterize the specificity of a cognitive enterprise which, in its several manifestations, is literary-religious rather than scientific-empirical. Our perspective tends to challenge communicative models trying to address the difference between religious and scientific discourses merely on the level of the content and truth-values of their belief systems. Moreover it covers significantly visual culture, which helps us to present Brazilian colonial literature on a broad canvas.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Alessandro Zir Copyright (c) 2020 Alessandro Zir 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8297 Understanding animal research in the light of Christian animal ethics https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8298 <p>In this article, I will argue that consideration of non-human animals is an important element of a genuine reading of Christian Scripture. Such a reading of Scripture will entail a critique of the ways humans relate to animals, particularly in regards to the contemporary practices of biomedical research. The article will argue that present biomedical research is a problematic practice, largely because of its negative conceptualization and objectification of animals.</p> <p>Both the Old and the New Testaments teach that animals, as God’s creation, have intrinsic value with “their own special, consecrated, and differentiated relationship to God” (Patton, 2000: 408). As recent interpretations of the Scriptures have suggested, the <em>dominion</em> entrusted to humans represents a duty to rule over other animals as vice-regents of God, and not as tyrants. Combining this perspective with the Edenic non-cruelty alimentary prescription and with biblical recommendations for compassionate treatment of other animals, I will argue that the Scriptures are an important source upon which to build a Christian animal ethics. Moreover, I&nbsp; argue that the contemporary scientific justification of the instrumentalization of animals in biomedical research is opposed to these biblical teachings. The primary aim of this paper is, therefore, to show how recovering Christian spirituality could help develop a new comprehensive ethics for living beings, beyond the paradigm of the “human benefit”. It will also suggest that Christian animal ethics could inform scientific policy in a positive and more humane way regarding other animals.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Alma Massaro Copyright (c) 2020 Alma Massaro 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8298 Religion and Science in Gregory of Nyssa: The Unity of the Creative and Scientific Logos https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8299 <p>I have chosen to focus on Gregory of Nyssa’s approach to science, for this conference, because, among all the religious thinkers I know, he is one of the very richest theologians and mystics and, at the same time, the one most interested in science, with a positive attitude towards it. Indeed, Gregory († 394ca.) was not only one of the most outstanding theologians in Christian Patristics – a direct heir of the great philosopher, theologian and exegete Origen of Alexandria – but he was also deeply interested in science. These two aspects, theology and science, are not opposed to one another in Gregory’s thought, since both proceed from the same logos. The logos, in its most perfect form, is Christ, the Logos of God, whose full expression is found in Christian revelation (both in Scripture and, more directly, in the very Person of Jesus Christ). But it is also the same logos that has always illuminated all human intellectual achievements in philosophy and science, even among “pagans,” because it is present in every rational creature or <em>logikon</em> as such. Thus, to seek a rational justification and explanation – at the level of the philosophical and scientific logos – of doctrines that come from the logos of Scripture (such as the doctrine of the resurrection) is for Gregory an operation that is not only fully legitimate but also necessary on a very theoretical plane. In sum, for Gregory, science, philosophy and theology are all grounded in the logos and thus ultimately consistent with each other.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Ilaria L. E. Ramelli Copyright (c) 2020 Ilaria L. E. Ramelli 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8299 Adventures of an Amazing Concept: Some Wanderings of “Miracles” in the Discourse on Islam and Science https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8300 <p>This essay scrutinizes how the conceptualization of the notion of ‘miracle’ varies in the works of contemporary Muslim authors who share (but differently define) the assumption that Islam and science enjoy a special harmony. Their positions are analyzed after a brief reconstruction of the multiple meanings of the very term ‘miracle’ and an historical excursus on the Christian and Muslim tradition respectively. I argue that such variation is dependent on each author’s understanding of science and technology, and complementarily, on the prestige and appeal exerted by science and technology on the authors’ respective readership.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Stefano Bigliardi Copyright (c) 2020 Stefano Bigliardi 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8300 The Arabsʾ Visions of the Upper Realm https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8301 <p>Pre-Islamic (Jāhilī) Arabs viewed the heavens with great respect, admiration and fear. They held the stars responsible for every event that took place in the earthly realm. Accordingly, they shaped their entire lives in accordance with their interpretations of astral configurations and phenomena. This study offers an avenue into specific passages in the Qur’an where cosmological connotations had the purpose of reshaping the mindset of believers by offering <em>guidelines for a comprehensive framework that </em>took <em>into</em>&nbsp;account both the&nbsp;materialistic and spiritual <em>dimensions of the universe. </em>The theological approach employed here examines the similarities and differences between the pre-Islamic view of the universe and the Qur’anic cosmological model that is based upon a set of Qur’anic verses and their traditional interpretations. In regards to this point, it might be sufficient to clarify that this study espouses neither concordistic nor complementarianistic perspectives: it does not attempt to transfer the cosmological implications of the Qur’anic texts into a modern context, nor treat them as being totally independent from such connotations. <em>In a nutshell, by demonstrating the role Islam played on changing the Arab perception of the universe that led eventually to the notable</em>&nbsp;contributions&nbsp;medieval Muslims made to the science&nbsp;of the stars<em>, the study aims to highlight that wha</em>t can be gained from bridging the gap between science and religion would far outweigh the previous separation of the two.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Abeer Abdullah Al-Abbasi Copyright (c) 2020 Abeer Abdullah Al-Abbasi 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8301 From Myth to Miracle on the Creation https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8302 <p>This essay is a study of four renowned Muslim Qur’an commentators and their exegesis of one particular Qur’anic verse (21:30), on the subject of Creation. The exegetes are al-Ṭabarī (ca. 224-310/839-923) and al-Rāzī (543-606/1149-1209) from the medieval period, and Ṭantāwī, (1862-1940) and Tabātabā’ī (1902-1981) from modern times. Applying the classic hermeneutic method illustrated by Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and considering the author’s intention, the commentators’ mind, and the context, I evaluated thirty-five verses containing details on the subject of Creation. From these, I selected verse 21:30, in the chapter of the Prophets, due to its content and the nature of the four exegetes’ comments. The verse reads, “Have those who disbelieved not considered that the heavens and the earth were a joined entity (<em>ratq</em>) and We separated (<em>fatq</em>) them and made from water every living thing? Will they then not believe?” The four selected exegetes have given the verse two different interpretations, one of which deals with the subject of the Creation of the universe. By selecting exegetes from both medieval and modern contexts, and who agree that the verse has a bearing on the subject of the Creation, the study has two aims. Firstly, to see how the verse is interpreted at different times and with reference to different cosmologies. Secondly, to show how Muslim commentators of the Scripture deal with a subject that is ‘theological’, but which can also be seen as having scientific implications. As we will see, the commentators favour theological considerations over scientific ones.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Saeid Edalatnejad Copyright (c) 2020 Saeid Edalatnejad 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8302 Creatio ex Nihilo and the Literal Qur’an https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8303 <p>In the modern age, the conflict between science and religion manifests itself in the debate between evolution and creation. In this essay, it is argued that if we adopt a creationist reading of the Qur’ān, we discover an interesting anomaly: reading the Qur’ān literally does not necessarily provide the foundation of creationism. Creationists usually have in mind the concept of <em>creatio ex nihilo</em>, or ‘creation out of nothing’. However, in the Qur’ān, one of the words used for creation, the verb <em>khalaqa</em> (usually rendered ‘He created’, with God as subject), has the consonant root <em>khlq</em>, which means ‘to split’ or ‘to divide’. This root word can even be seen as applying to the biological process of cell division. Therefore, it is argued here that using the verb <em>khalaqa</em> to describe this physical process is not problematic from a scientific perspective. In addition, with close textual analysis of the Qur’ān, it appears that the second verb for creation, the imperative ‘be’ (<em>kun</em>), does not truly describe the moment of creation, but rather that of ‘being’. The Qur’ān separates the notion of creation from being, which poses the question as to what the text constitutes as the ontological nature of the human being and the universe. Therefore, it is concluded here that even if we do adopt a literal reading of the Qur’ān, it does not necessarily support a worldview that endorses <em>creatio ex nihilo</em>.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Abdulla Galadari Copyright (c) 2020 Abdulla Galadari 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8303 Is There A Political Argument For Teaching Evolution? https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8304 <p>This essay develops my keynote address on the topic of creationism and science education, delivered at the conference <em>Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts: Dynamics of Change</em>, NTNU, Trondheim (2012). Debates over evolution in science education take place in a political context where liberal and conservative visions about the purpose of education come into conflict. Comparing the history of creationist pressures on science education in the United States and Turkey highlights the broad contours of these competing visions. The current conservative ascendancy in both countries, however, makes it difficult to reach any consensus on the practical benefits of including evolution in mass science education.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Taner Edis Copyright (c) 2020 Taner Edis 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8304 Evolution, the Purpose of Life and the Order of Society https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8305 <p>This essay treats the pseudo-biographical monographs with which the Turkish author Halit Ertuğrul popularizes the teachings of Said Nursi, founder of the Nurcu movement. Rejection of the theory of evolution plays a central role in these narratives, where a religious person acts as a prompter who demonstrates to a person led astray by materialism the futility of his ideology. As soon as ‘the materialists’ have understood this, they change their life entirely and free themselves from the sociopolitical delusions of communism or behavioral problems. The theory of evolution functions in these accounts not only as a basis of atheism and materialism but also as the antithesis of a harmonious order of the <em>cosmos</em>, which ought to be reflected in a harmonious order of society.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Martin Riexinger Copyright (c) 2020 Martin Riexinger 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8305 Religion and Science, Four Models, an Iranian Approach https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8306 <p>Iran’s revolution was understood by its past Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, as a revitalization of religion in the modern world. Based on this religious foundation, Iranian Governments over the last thirty years have had a special science policy, which has withstood political shifts. In this essay, I explore the consequences of Iran’s religiously motivated science policy in the era of communication and accelerative globalization, in which everything affects everything else! I have studied Industrial engineering in Tehran, and then I changed to Islamic philosophy in order to pursue questions about the authority and truth of scientific knowledge. Having completed my PhD in western Philosophy in the Iranian Institute of Philosophy, I am now affiliated with the Free University of Berlin. As a Muslim, I have always engaged with the question about the relation between Islam’s claim on truth and other sources of knowledge. This study focuses on Iranian Twelver Shiism and begins by surveying related concepts of knowledge from different historical periods, up to the Iranian revolution. Against this background, I proceed to define four distinct, pervasive Islamic discourses on new sciences: Technocrats, Historicists, Selectivists, and Purists. These discourses have their adherents in Iranian religious society and offer potential religious and philosophical support for Iran’s science policies. I also give some examples of their practical implications.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Mahdi Esfahani Copyright (c) 2020 Mahdi Esfahani 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8306 Religious Reformation in the Bengal Renaissance: Prelude to Science Museums in India https://archiv.ub.uni-marburg.de/ep/0004/article/view/8308 <p>This essay charts the religious reform thinking of the Bengali Rammohan Roy (1772–1833) and the establishment of science museums in India, within the broader nationalist movement for independence from colonial rule during the late 1800s and early 1900s. The main argument is that there is a connection between the religious reform movement and the development of science museums. The religious reformers embraced modern science and formulated a simultaneously religious and scientific critique of traditional Indian social hierarchies and mores, which they perceived as obstructing the path to independence and flourishing. However, they also argued that the ancient Hindu religion and civilization contains the same ideas that underpinned modern western political and scientific development. Notably, the ‘theistic’ concept of an abstract and universal One God, which is found also in the Vedic scriptures was welcomed, which was not considered to be intrinsically associated with the caste system and other practices the reformers sought to change to the same extent as the popular forms of worship administered by the Brahmins. The development of modern science museums in India is therefore seen here to illustrate three points: the dynamic relationship between religion and science; the concurrent relationship between British and ‘western’ developments; and the use of the ‘local’ Vedic sources for the development of modern cosmology.</p> <p>This paper is one of a collection that originated in the IAHR Special Conference “Religions, Science and Technology in Cultural Contexts:&nbsp; Dynamics of Change”, held at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology on March 1–2, 2012. For an overall introduction see the article by Ulrika Mårtensson, also published here.</p> Lyric Banerjee Copyright (c) 2020 Lyric Banerjee 2020-08-18 2020-08-18 22 2 10.17192/mjr.2020.22.8308