Books: Century of Faith & Fire

THE AGE OF REASON BEGINS (732 pp.) —Will and Ariel Durant—Simon & Schuster ($10).

In 1619, Johann Kepler published his remarkable studies on the orbital speed of planets. Two generations later, they were to lead Newton to the theory of gravitation, and in Kepler's own time they so impressed James I of England that he tried to hire the great German astronomer as an adviser to his court. Back home in Linz that same year, Kepler's mother was thrown into prison as a witch.

The paradox that has fascinated all historians—of reason beside unreason, of rationalism beside blind faith—was never more sharply apparent...

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