Culture and history: Essential partners in the conversation between religion and science

Norbert M. Samuelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In this essay I respond to John Caiazza's claim for the primacy of what he calls techno-secularism for understanding twentieth-century history. Using the examples of the Taiping Rebellion in nineteenth-century China and Zionism in twentieth-century Europe, I argue that the range of Caiazza's schema is confined solely to the Protestant West with little applicability to other national histories. I argue further for the lack of clarity and therefore the uselessness of the dichotomy of the secular and the religious for understanding human history. I claim instead that, while the category of technology and the institutions of religion are important determiners in human history, they need to be subsumed, without special status, within a broader set of interrelated factors called "culture." I appeal for the academic study of science and religion to give primacy for the near future to the history of science and religion over both theology and science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)335-350
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • China
  • Christianity
  • Conservative
  • Culture
  • Elite
  • Hong Xiu
  • Israel
  • John Caiazza
  • Liberal
  • Neo-Confucianism
  • Reform Judaism
  • Religious
  • Secular
  • Taiping
  • Techno-secularism
  • Technology
  • Values
  • Zionism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Religious studies


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