THE WISDOM OF ANCIENT COSMOLOGY Contemporary Science in Light of Tradition

THE WISDOM OF ANCIENT COSMOLOGY Contemporary Science in Light of Tradition Wolfgang Smith “This ground-breaking work is one of the most salient and challenging books to have appeared in our times on the meaning of traditional cosmologies and the critique of prevalent philosophical interpretation of modern science on the basis of traditional metaphysical and theological teachings.” — S. H. Nasr *** The information provided by quantum physics is so paradoxical that it cannot be integrated into a realistic and intelligible theory built on modern conceptual resources alone and many among the greatest physicists, such as Niels Bohr or Werner Heisenberg, have been very much aware of this fact… Wolfgang Smith reminds us of these primary truths with the authority of a recognized scientist and the full resources of his broad philosophic and religious culture and shows, with simplicity and sometimes with much humor, that Bultmann has chosen the wrong object: it is not religion but the customary interpretation of science that needs to be “demythologized.” Only the doctrine of the philosophia perennis is able to accomplish this, and thereby to disclose the full truth of science itself. In the present crisis, in which Christian thought is split between an impossible fideism and its confinement to moral problems, Wolfgang Smith’s book discloses a liberating perspective which, in the name of science itself, restores to faith its entire truth. It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of such a work.


Wolfgang Smith

Wolfgang Smith (b. 1930) was born in Vienna. He graduated from Cornell University at age of eighteen with majors in physics, philosophy, and mathematics. After taking an M. S. in physics from Purdue University, he pursued research in aerodynamics, where his papers on diffusion fields have provided the theoretical key to the solution of the re-entry problem for space flight. After receiving a Ph. D. in mathematics from Columbia University, Dr. Smith held faculty positions at M.I.T, U.C.L.A., and Oregon State University, where he has served as Professor of Mathematics until his retirement.

From the start, Wolfgang Smith has been many-sided in his intellectual interests. He has pursued research and published extensively in the areas of partial differential equations, Lorentz geometry, relativistic cosmology, differential forms, foliations and other topics in algebraic and differential topology. Apart from his scientific pursuits, he started early to cultivate a special interest in Platonism and oriental metaphysics and later took up serious studies in the field of Christian theology. In recent years, he has published a number of articles dealing with various facets of scientific belief from a traditional metaphysical point of view in addition to his four books Cosmos and TranscendenceTeilhardism and the New ReligionThe Quantum Enigma and The Wisdom of Ancient Cosmology. He has been especially concerned to unmask conceptions of a scientistic kind widely accepted today as scientific truths.


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