On September 26, 2019, at 4:30PM, the History and Philosophy of Science Program and Notre Dame Press will co-host a book launch for Faith and Science at Notre Dame: John Zahm, Evolution, and the Catholic Church by John Slattery. The event will be held in Foley’s Room inside O’Neil Hall at the University of Notre Dame.
In Faith and Science at Notre Dame, John P. Slattery (ND ’17 Ph.D.) tells a new and fuller story of the Reverend John Augustine Zahm, C.S.C., (1851–1921) and his quest to prove the compatibility of late nineteenth-century evolutionary science and Roman Catholicism. Zahm was a Holy Cross priest, author, South American explorer, and a science professor and vice president at the University of Notre Dame, the latter at the age of twenty-five. Through his scientific writings, Zahm argued that Roman Catholicism was fully compatible with an evolutionary view of biological systems. Ultimately Zahm’s ideas were not accepted in his lifetime and he was prohibited from discussing evolution and Catholicism, although he remained an active priest for more than two decades after his censure.
John Slattery charts the rise and fall of Zahm, examining his ascension to international fame in bridging evolution and Catholicism and shedding new light on his ultimate downfall via censure by the Congregation of the Index of Prohibited Books. Slattery presents previously unknown archival letters and reports that allow Zahm’s censure to be fully understood in the light of broader scientific, theological, and philosophical movements within the Catholic Church and around the world.