By: Yehuda Fogel
When addressing science and religion, one challenge that 18Forty faces is dealing with the vast literature
that already addresses so many of the important questions. How can a podcast in the 21st century
contribute meaningfully to a conversation already so laden with substantive content? To best honor the
important work that has already been done on science and religion, we put together a bibliography of our
favorite work on key interactions between science and religion.
This bibliography is far from exhaustive, and we prefer to think of it as an invitation for further
exploration rather than a checklist for your intellectual journey. Here are some of our favorite articles that
we found illuminating, and we hope you find illumination here as well.
Appetizer: Conflicts Between Science & Judaism
Whet your appetite with some big picture issues to get you started.
Nathan Aviezer’s “When Torah and Science Collide” works on two levels to unpack the question of
science and Judaism. On the first, Aviezer outlines the major methods that are used to resolve conflicts
between science and Torah. On the second, he moves towards a Biblical concordist perspective, urging
readers that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Aviezer is a physicist and commentator on science
and the Torah, so you know he will make for fun reading (sarcasm). However, he is a believer that
aligning or rereading the Torah to fit science is both fruitful and important. Consider his arguments for
David Shatz’s important article “Is There Science in the Bible? An Assessment of Biblical
Concordism” is a direct attack against the Biblical concordism in which Aviezer believes. Shatz engages
dialogically with the arguments in favor and against Biblical concordism, ultimately believing that
attempts to read the Torah in light of science are problematic in theory and in practice. He points out that
the constant use of Biblical concordism in Jewish outreach can be more dangerous than you might think.
While dense, his article demonstrates Shatz’s real engagement with an approach he disagrees with,
modelling the type of respectful thinking we can all work towards. Don’t care about Biblical concordism?
Shatz wants to know why you don’t. Read it for more. Or don’t. Bibliographies don’t care about your
Entering this conversation from a legal perspective, Rabbi Gil Student’s “Halakhic Responses To
Scientific Developments” looks at the ways Jewish law has engaged with, and around, scientific
development throughout history. While in some ways Jewish law is a closed system; in other ways it is
deeply open, and Student’s article provides a well researched assessment of the ways the system has
responded to development over time.
Here’s your meal; we hope you enjoy.