This topic aims to present the ancient Jewish texts (Tenakh and Talmud) as being guides to life for Jews which engage in questions about God’s plans and life’s purpose. Scientific enquiry has a part in this and does not necessarily clash with it. Where they seem to clash Jewish writing has often been proactive in dealing with questions. Jewish thought can accommodate the creation/evolution, Big Bang/age of universe debate in different ways. There are different understandings of miracles in ancient and modern rabbinical interpretation.
The topic focusses on the Image of God and how Jewish thought might understand that in relation to scientific understandings of what it is to be human. Some case studies of actual Jewish responses to scientific issues include Maimonides (mediaeval rabbi and scientist, doctor and astronomer) Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik (twentieth century rabbi) and Lord Winston (contemporary scientist). This unit consists of 2 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 16 to 19 years
- Is humankind unique?
- Are science and the Torah compatible?
- How are traditional values, grounded in the Torah, and changing scientific values in dialogue?
- Are science and traditional Jewish religious teaching compatible or incompatible?
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