Departmental Papers (HSS)

Document Type

Review

Date of this Version

2009

Publication Source

Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences

Volume

39

Issue

2

Start Page

248

Last Page

257

DOI

10.1525/hsns.2009.39.2.248

Abstract

These two volumes made me think about transubstantiation, the process through which something retains its form, color, and shape, yet becomes, in reality, something else. The usual example is the transformation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, in the Roman Catholic ritual of the Eucharist. Transubstantiation is a standardized miracle (the repetitive, guaranteed miracle of the Mass, offered four times a day). The miracle requires dense layers of social and rhetorical labor, and in this sense, it is not unlike the work of using models in Drosophila genetics, plate tectonics, or primatology. But I have something a bit grander in mind.

Copyright/Permission Statement

Published as Lindee, S. (2009). Transubstantiation in Science. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 39(2): 248-257. © 2009 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.

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Date Posted: 24 October 2017

This document has been peer reviewed.