Judaism & Science in History

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The rise of modern science created new challenges for the Jewish tradition. Unlike some segments of Christianity, Jewish thinkers have rarely perceived the scientific method to be problematic in and of itself, but the results of this method often pose a problem. Evolution contradicts the biblical account of creation; psychology challenges the Jewish belief in free will; and historical scholarship and biblical criticism call into question the traditional understanding of the Bible.

For liberal denominations that have a more open approach to divine revelation and the development of Jewish law, these issues pose fewer problems. Orthodox Jews, however, who have a more conservative approach to the authority of the Bible and Talmud, have struggled to respond to scientific claims without undermining that authority. Traditional Jewish thinkers today face similar options to those faced throughout Jewish history: rejecting science, reconciling science and Jewish tradition, or arguing that the two have different purposes. Today, the dialogue between Judaism and science continues as both science and Judaism develop in new directions.

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