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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Current Postgraduate Research Students

Publication details for Professor Simon Oliver

Oliver, Simon (2005). Philosophy, God and Motion. London: Routledge.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

In the post-Newtonian world motion is assumed to be a simple category which relates to the locomotion of bodies in space, and is usually associated only with physics. This book shows this to be a relatively recent understanding of motion and that prior to the scientific revolution motion was a broader and more mysterious category, applying to moral as well as physical movements.

Simon Oliver presents fresh interpretations of key figures in the history of western thought including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas and Newton, examining the thinkers’ handling of the concept of motion. Through close readings of seminal texts in ancient and medieval cosmology and early modern natural philosophy, the books moves from antique to modern times investigating how motion has been of great significance within theology, philosophy and science. Particularly important is the relation between motion and God, following Aristotle traditional doctrines of God have understood the divine as the ‘unmoved mover’ while post-Holocaust theologians have suggested that in order to be compassionate God must undergo the motion of suffering. The text argues that there may be an authentically theological, as well as a natural scientific understanding of motion.

This volume will prove a major contribution to theology, the history of Christian thought and to the growing field of science and religion.