Nature between Science and Religion: Jewish Culture and the Natural World
The 2017–2018 fellowship program took as its focus Jewish perspectives on science and the natural world. Fellows posed new questions about the theories, institutions, and paradigms shaping the study of nature, and about the cultural and religious consequences that emerge from such study, revealing how scientific notions both draw on and are challenged by traditional and theological views of the world. Research projects reached back to theories of the animate soul in biblical thought and forward to the cultural place of engineers and engineering in modern pre-war Germany. Animal studies, geography, monsters, evolution, magic, astronomy, genetics, and medical anthropology all pose problems to traditional religious world-views, and offer windows into how the idea of authority, tradition, canon, and even God are defined in changing worlds, and create historical and cognitive, and theological inflection points in Jewish thought. David Shyovitz is editing a volume of some of the best of year's research.