Abstract

Like all vital religious systems, Judaism has had to come to terms with the latest discoveries and advances in science and technology. Three times in the last 2500 years from the birth of a true scientific approach to the universe in the Greek cities on the eastern shore of the Aegean Sea until the present, Judaism has faced a challenge from rational and scientific thought. Hellenistic science and philosophy were deeply alluring to many Jews, and consequently the authors of the Talmud placed biblical law on a new rational base, and even incorporated Greek terms in their writing. In medieval Muslim Spain—the Spain of the three faiths—Jewish thinkers, and especially Moses Maimonides, again sought to integrate Greek rationalism and science with Judaism. The rebirth of scientific thought in western Europe that began about four centuries ago has presented the most serious scientific challenge of all time to traditional Jewish beliefs and religious practices. Though no overall philosophy that would integrate science and Judaism has yet appeared, several Jewish thinkers have already tackled this problem, and Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist of the twentieth century, has laid down the guidelines for such a philosophy.

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 80-93
Launched on MUSE
2004-07-09
Open Access
No
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