Bio Faculty Research - Edward Davis

Ted Davis' Research

Professor Emeritus of the History of Science

I began teaching at Messiah in 1985 and retired in 2021. Although I no longer teach any courses, I am still active in writing, research, speaking, and consulting. I am often on campus and always enjoy visiting classes or meeting with individuals or small groups. I am happy to advise students or anyone else doing research on the history of science or science and religion. Just contact me ( to initiate a conversation.

I am best known as editor (with Michael Hunter) of the The Works of Robert Boyle, 14 vols. (Pickering & Chatto, 1999-2000), and a separate edition of A Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature (Cambridge University Press, 1996). I also collaborated with Professor Hunter to identify and describe hundreds of unpublished manuscripts in the Boyle Papers at The Royal Society in London. That major project resulted in several by-products, including an article about Boyle’s religious beliefs and a recent article about the influence of the Bible and Christian theology on Boyle’s science.

With support from the National Science Foundation and the John Templeton Foundation, I recently completed a project about the religious activities and beliefs of prominent American scientists from the period between the two world wars. An article about this in American Scientist was one of their ten most read articles  in 2017. I also wrote separate studies of five individual scientists, including Nobel laureates Robert Millikan and Arthur Holly Compton. The project culminates in a heavily annotated edition of ten pamphlets from the 1920s on “Science and Religion” by top scientists and religious leaders. Science and Religion, Chicago Style is scheduled for release by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2024.

All together I’ve written dozens of articles about historical and contemporary aspects of Christianity and science, including a study of modern Jonah stories that was featured on two BBC radio programs. I also about one hundred lengthy columns about science and religion for BioLogos, including a very popular series on “Science and the Bible” and a richly illustrated history of American religion and science before the Civil War.

As a former president of the American Scientific Affiliation (the oldest American organization for Christians in the sciences) and a Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion, I am sometimes involved with projects directed by others. Forty lectures on “The Scientific Revolution: Its Classical and Christian History,” were recorded by Classical Academic Press.

I was an advisor for an exhibit on American religion and science at the National Museum of American History and a very large exhibit on “Scripture and Science” (with associated rare books) at the Museum of the Bible.