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Biology has been able to systematize and order its vast information through the theory of evolution, offering the possibility of a more engaged dialogue and possible integration with religious insights and emotions. Using Judaism as a focus, this essay examines ways that contemporary evolutionary theory offers room for balancing freedom and constraint, serendipity and intentionality in ways fruitful to Jewish thought and expression. This essay then looks at a productive integration of Judaism and biology in the examples of co-evolution, environmental ethics, the place of humans within nature, the relationship of mind and brains, and the ways that individual and group identity blur.

Keywords: Judaism; biology; co-creation; consciousness; creation; emergence; environmental ethics; evolution; freedom; integration; laws; spandrels

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2010.01174.x

Affiliations: Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson is the Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles CA 90077-1599, USA;, Email: bartson@ajula.edu.

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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