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The Science and Religion Dialogue

Past and Future

Edited By Michael Welker

This book documents the conference on The Science and Religion Dialogue: Past and Future, held at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, October 25-29, 2012. The conference commemorated the 100 th anniversary of the birth of Sir John Templeton and the 25 th anniversary of the establishment of the John Templeton Foundation. It brought together about 60 active participants, all of them prominent scholars from many countries and many academic fields. Most of them have been engaged in the Science and Religion Dialogue for the last two or three decades. This book reports on multi-year international and interdisciplinary research projects at leading institutions. The contributions start with presentations by Hans Joas, Martin Nowak and John Polkinghorne and range from Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics and Biology to Philosophical Theology and Religious Ethics. Special topics of the dialogue between Science and Religion are also dealt with, such as Eschatology and Anthropology; Cosmology, Creation, and Redemption; Evolutionary Biology and the Spirit; and The Role of Thought Experiments in Science and Theology.
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Insiders and Outsiders in ‘Religion and Science’

Places and Perspectives

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Ian Barbour’s Issues in Science and Theology and the founding of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science by Ralph W. Burhoe and others (both in 1966) might be taken to mark the beginning of contemporary scholarly discussions on ‘theology and science’ in America. Today in the USA there are many activities, among which the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, with the recently endowed Ian Barbour chair held by Robert J. Russell, the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, and the James McCord chair in Princeton (Wentzel van Huyssteen). In recent decades many more initiatives have been encouraged by funds from the John Templeton Foundation and other sponsors. As in any intellectual engagement, the commitment of dedicated individuals has been of major importance, and among these Robert J. Russell1 (Berkeley), and Philip Hefner2 (Chicago) deserve special recogniton.

In the United Kingdom there is also substantial interest in ‘theology and science’. Major voices have been Arthur Peacocke3 and John Polkinghorne,4 both scientists who have become theologians. In 1994 a lectureship in Cambridge, endowed by the novelist Susan Howatch of the Starbridge novels, was filled by Fraser Watts. Andreas Idreos endowed a chair in Oxford, to which John Hedley Brooke was appointed in 1999. These and other initiatives such as the textbook by Christopher Southgate and collegues5 strengthened the field in the UK. ← 157 | 158 →

In continental Western Europe developments have been different. Around...

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