Religion and Science


This field of study can be divided into 4 major areas (although not all scholars would agree on category names/descriptions).  In this guide, we will use the following four areas of study as divisions in the field:

  1. Religion and Science;
  2. Social Scientific Study of Religion;
  3. Scientific Study of Religion;
  4. Spirituality and Medicine.

Here are a couple of introductory texts that you might find useful as you begin your study in the field (divided by area):

1. Barbour, Ian G. 1997. Religion and science: historical and contemporary issues. Revised & expanded ed. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco. Theo Open Stacks BL240.2 .R367 1997

Polkinghorne, John. 1998. Science and theology: An introduction. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress. Theo Open Stacks BL240.2 .P57634 1998

2. Dillon, [Cambridge] Handbook of Sociology of Religion. Theo Open Stacks BL60 .H36 2003

Clarke, Oxford Handbook of Sociology of Religion. Mugar Library BL60 .O94 2009

3. Stausberg, Michael, ed 2009. Contemporary theories of religion: a critical companion. London; New York: Routledge.  Theo Open Stacks BL48 .C575 2009.

Wildman, Wesley J. 2009. Science and religious anthropology : a spiritually evocative naturalist interpretation of human life, Ashgate science and religion series. Farnham, Surrey, England ; Burlington, VT: Ashgate Pub. Theo Open Stacks BL240.3 .W53 2009

4. Koenig, Harold G., Michael E. McMullough, and David B. Larson. 2001. Handbook of religion and health. Oxford: Oxford University. Theo Open Stacks BL65.M4 K646 2001 (or Koenig’s more recent monograph Medicine, Religion, and Health. Theo Open Stacks BL65.M4 K648 2008)

Simmons, Faith and Health: Religion, Science, and Public Policy. Theo Open Stacks BT732.7 .S58 2008

You can also search for our collection of books from the International Society for Science and Religion here.


Sample subject headings for each area (not an exhaustive list)

While you can use these subject headings in a simple search, they are more useful when you are doing an advanced search and choose the “in subject” search.

  1. Religion and Science
    Bible and Science
    Natural Theology
  2. Anthropology and religion
    Religion and sociology
    Psychology of religion
  3. Human evolution–religious aspects
    Sociobiology–religious aspects
    Psychology, religious
    Biology–religious aspects
    Physics–religious aspects
  4. Medicine–religious aspects
    Spiritual healing
    Psychiatry and religion
    Bioethics–religious aspects

Reference Works

Here is a short list of reference works that can provide an introduction or overview to the areas of study within the field “Religion and Science” held at Boston University. Unless otherwise noted, these items are held in Theology Library’s Reference Collection.

  • Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature: BL31 .E465 2005 v. 1 & 2. The 2012 edition is also available online.
  • Encyclopedia of Science and Religion: BL240.3 .E43 2003 v. 1 & 2 (also at Mugar).
  • History of science and religion in the Western tradition: an encyclopedia: Mugar Storage BL245 .H57 2000.
  • Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science: Theo Open Stacks BL240.3 .O94 2008 (also at Mugar).
  • Toward a theology of scientific endeavour : the descent of science: BL240.3 .K35 2007. Also available online.
  • Bibliography of Bioethics: Z6675 .E8 W34, v. 1-35. (also at Science/Engineering).


  • Theology and Science
  • Second Opinion
  • Making the Rounds in Health, Faith, and Ethics
  • Christian Bioethics
  • Sacred Space: the international journal of spirituality and health

Databases and Web Resources