In the earliest Christian book of science, you’ll find illustrations of animals, plants, insects, and minerals, bringing to light their spiritual meaning through the lens of scriptural material. This book, the Physiologus, is traditionally dated to the 2nd century AD, and filled with rich insight into the very beginnings of the conversation between science and Christian faith.
After last year’s review of Stavros Lazaris’ first volume looking closely at the Physiologus, ISCAST fellow Doru Costache has reviewed Lazaris’ second volume of the trilogy, Le Physiologus grec, vol. 2: Donner à voir la nature (2021), analysing the illustrations that accompany the description of animals, plants, and minerals in this ancient work:
“Compared to modern scientific textbooks that do not include symbolic interpretations, Physiologus is clearly peculiar. It actually shows less interest in ‘describing the real behaviour of the various species,’ no matter the obsolete data on which it relies, instead focusing on the items ‘as moral or religious symbols’ (p. 18). This is not the modern analytical science; this is a holistic approach to reality.”