The Narses Project
Nature and Religion in South Eastern European Space: mapping Science and Eastern Christianity relations in South Eastern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean
The HPDST team (History, Philosophy and Didactics of Science Programme) has been funded by the National Strategic Reference Framework the project NARSES on Science and Religion.
NARSES aims to map the relationship between sciences and religion from the 4th c. AD to the 20th c. in Southeastern Europe and East Mediterranean. It will focus on social formations where Eastern Christianity was, depending on the period, dominant or important religious tradition.
Exploring historically the relationship sciences-religions is essential in order to understand the relation societies -sciences. The “Needham question” (why certain societies rather than others develop a specific scientific practice) is closely tied with this relationship. NARSES proposes to fill an important gap in the historiography: while a huge literature exists on science and religion in Western Christianity there is almost a void for the areas of Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire and the Balkan states, marked by Eastern Christianity.
NARSES interdisciplinary research will reveal unknown dimensions of science-religion relations, with major implications for the relevant historiography developed in reference with the West European societies.
NARSES aims a) to collect, critically examine and catalogue the religious texts on nature, the scientific texts evincing theology and the canonical texts on knowledge and sciences; b) to map the complexity of the relations sciences-religion, the Eastern Christianity groups active in debates on nature and the institutions responsible for the production and negotiation of knowledge about nature and God.
The PI has organized training of young scholars on sciences and religions in the S-E Europe and East Mediterranean through interdisciplinary research, networks, seminars and conferences. The implementation of NARSES will open a new research field which will constitute a solid ground in order to further develop the research to the whole Eastern Europe and the interdisciplinary comparative studies on science and religions between West and East. It will contribute to the dialog between societies having different cultural histories and traditions.
The duration of the project is from November 2012 to November 2015.