Mathematics and Religion

  1. Lemma
  2. Matematika i religija
  3. Serbian
  4. From Mathematics to Anthropology (en)
  5. Stevanovic, Aleksandra
  6. Scientific theories and disciplines > Mathematics - Modes of interaction
  7. 31-12-2016
  8. Dejic, Mirko [Author]. Number, Measure, Immeasurability: From Mathematics to Anthropology. 190–310, Mathematics and Religion
  9. Number, Measure, Immeasurability : From Mathematics to Anthropology - Belgrade: University of Belgrade. Teacher Education Faculty, 2013.
    1. Dejic, Mirko
  10. religion and mathematics
    1. The book is divided into three parts: “Philosophy of Mathematics”, “History of Mathematics”, and “Mathematics and Religion” and it is written in a comprehensive way.

      Part number three titled “Mathematics and Religion” has been taken from the book "The Secret World of Mathematics" by the same author, published by "Nolit" in 1990, which drew much attention. This part presents mathematics and religion permeating each other in diverse aspects and throughout history. The author starts by acknowledging the vastness of the topic and by explaining that only a small part of it would be mentioned because it demands a broad and complex work. Therefore, the facts in this chapter provide only starting points and ideas for the further elaboration of the matter. The issue has not been explored so far so this book presents a valuable insight into this correlation. 

      According to the book, mathematics has sometimes been studied and knowledge preserved in monasteries. From the author’s point of view, each historian of mathematics has a very difficult research to do. Many mathematicians were more or less related to religion. For instance, Rudjer Boskovic has belonged to Jesuits and it is interesting to investigate how religiousness could have influenced his scientific creativity. Mihailo Petrovic Alas, a famous mathematician whom the author mentions, has not shown signs of religiousness, however, being raised in family of priests it may have influenced his mindset. These two examples are presented as an idea of how future study should follow. In a similar way, the results of scientists such as Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Pascal, Descartes, Leibniz and especially Netwon should be examined. The author further concludes that scientific results and truths should not be divided into religious and atheistic, but if there is an indication that a scientist has been religious, an analysis should be done so as to explore whether religiousness has a beneficial or disadvantageous impact on their work.

      Correlation between mathematics and religion is undeniably present. The way of Christian thinking has undoubtedly influenced ideas in mathematics, such as understanding numbers as abstract. Although scientific facts cannot be found, the Bible may inspire scientific thinking. It is equally interesting to believers, scientists, historians and philosophers. Number 7 is very common and of particular significance in the Bible and there has been strong indication of its mathematical construction. Furthermore, it abounds in calculations. All that confirms great knowledge of mathematics in the ancient time, especially in geometry and arithmetics.

      In the chapter “Influence of Religion on Development of the term Infinity”, the author displays the development of the term “infinity” in mathematics, whose analogues in religion may be the terms infinity and immensity, found in the Bible.The author further presents the review of life and mathematical contributions of diverse priests and theologians. A very important point is the portrayal of the first mechanical clock in Moscow, made in Kremlin in 1404 by the Serb Lazar Hilandarac since it implies the connection of scientific and religious life. In the final chapter, “Calculating the Date of Celebrating Easter” the author thoroughly presents historical occurrences concerning these issues, including the calendar reform and the role of the Serbian Orthodox Church and Milutin Milankovic. 

      Undoubtedly, the book brings a new approach to the study of these two spheres relation and accentuates interdisciplinarity as a fruitful method. Thereby, it is a very useful tool for future exploration of science and religion dialogue which has not been present so far in Serbian academic circles.