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Philip Hefner identifies three settings in which to assess the future of science and religion: the academy, the public sphere, and the faith community. This essay argues that the discourse of science and religion could improve its standing within the secular academy in America by shifting the focus from theology to history. In the public sphere, the science-and-religion discourse could play an important role of promoting tolerance and respect toward the religious Other. For a given faith community (for example, Judaism) the discourse of science and religion can ensure future intellectual depth by virtue of study and ongoing interpretation. The essay challenges the suggestion to adopt irony as a desirable posture for science-and-religion discourse.
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Keywords: Aristotle; Darwinism; Hayden White; Judaism (Reform, Modern Orthodox, Ultra-Orthodox); Philip Hefner; anti-Semitism; conflict model; early modern science and technology; irony; natural philosophy; religion; science; secularism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of history and director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Arizona State University, P.O. Box 874302, Tempe, AZ 85287–4302;, Email:

Publication date: 2010-06-01

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