New book charts the rise and fall of John Zahm, C.S.C., vice president of Notre Dame

Author: Notre Dame Press News

Rev, John A. Zahm, C.S.C.

Faith And Science

In this recently published book, Faith and Science at Notre Dame: John Zahm, Evolution, and the Catholic Church, 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. The book will appeal to those interested in Notre Dame and Catholic history, scholars of science and religion, and general readers seeking to understand the relationship between faith and science.

View the promotional video.

About the Author

John P. Slattery is a senior program associate with the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Book Events

Book Talk, Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, Milwaukee, WI, Sept. 13, 2019

Book Launch, O’Neill Hall, Foley’s Room, Notre Dame, IN, Sept. 26, 2019, 4:30pm

Book Talk, Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, October 2, 2019, 5:00pm 


John P. Slattery is available for interviews.

Book Information

Faith and Science at Notre Dame: John Zahm, Evolution, and the Catholic Church

John P. Slattery

296 pages • ISBN 978-0268-10609-6 • $27 hardback

August 31, 2019 publication

For a review copy, or more information, contact: Kathryn Pitts,, 574.631.3267





Originally published by Notre Dame Press News at on September 03, 2019.