Postgraduate Course: Key Thinkers in Science and Religion (THET11039)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course explores the important historical and contemporary issues in the science-religion debate through close study of key contributors and their texts. The aim is to develop a critical awareness of some of the important themes of contemporary dialogue, including ways in which they have surfaced and re-surfaced in different guises through modern history.
This course is an option within the MSc in Science and Religion, but is also available to other postgraduate students. The course explores the important historical and contemporary issues in the science-religion debate through close study of key contributors and their texts. The aim is to develop a critical awareness of some of the important themes of contemporary dialogue, including ways in which they have surfaced and re-surfaced in different guises through modern history.
The course provides a close engagement with eleven important contributors to the Science/Religion dialogue, through detailed study of key texts. The contributors who are chosen vary from year to year, but they will represent a broad range of issues in the Science/Religion field, including some of the most important historical trends from the beginnings of modern science to the present day.
The course is roughly chronological in the way it is set out. It usually begins at the birth of modern science, either with a mediaeval scholastic thinker (e.g. Thomas Aquinas) or an early modern (e.g. Descartes) who has had a key influence on the genesis of modern science, and moves on to look at early religious consequences of the growth of modern science, such as the developments of Deism and Unitarianism (e.g. Joseph Priestley), and the vociferous debates concerning nineteenth-century geology (e.g. Hugh Miller) and Darwinism (e.g. T. H. Huxley). Afterwards, the course moves into the first half of the twentieth century, looking at thinkers such as Sir Arthur Eddington, and his apologetics for both physics and religion (which foreshadowed much of what is being said today in the New Atheism debate). His mystical approach from the perspective of physics can be seen to mirror those from a biological angle by Teilhard de Chardin, whose evolutionary speculations form the starting point for much contemporary Christological reflection. From there, the course looks at significant modern-day theologians and philosophers who have integrated scientific viewpoints into their work (e.g. Moltmann and Pannenberg, John Hedley Brooke, Nancey Murphy), and some of the scientists who have applied their work to theological topics (Peacocke and Polkinghorne).
Student Learning Experience Information:
The course is taught by means of eleven classes, each of which includes core content presented by one of the course teachers, a student presentation, and opportunity for class discussion. Except for the very first class, each class will require a schedule of reading to be carried out in advance. Students are expected to engage critically and creatively with the reading, and to contribute to class discussion.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||This is a graduate-level course. Please confirm subject prerequisites with the Course Manager.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||A 3000 word essay on a topic arising from one of the sessions (80%); a 1000-word presentation to one of the classes (20%)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Developed a close awareness of how the science and religion dialogue has evolved in modern times
- Reflected on deeper currents in the dialogue than broad-sweeping overviews can provide, especially through studying key primary texts in detail
- Engaged in detail with the thought of several major contributors
- Demonstrated the ability to deliver a presentation for a seminar and to engage in constructive dialogue across a range of disciplinary backgrounds
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Mark Harris
Tel: (0131 6)50 8914
|Course secretary||Dr Jessica Wilkinson
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227