Early in April of 2018, 20 participants and 4 observers, all generously funded by the Issachar Foundation, gathered together at Emmanuel College Cambridge to read and discuss the first set of offerings for the “After Science and Religion” Project. This project has a team of internationally recognized scholars which includes some historians of modernity as well as a number of scholars with recognized expertise in both science and theology, but the majority of participants are Catholic, Anglican, Protestant and Orthodox philosophical theologians. Each participant had 30 minutes to present their initial paper, and then 15 minutes for discussion from the floor. A great deal of informal discussion around the themes of the project also occurred over the three days in which the colloquium ran. The basic idea of the project is that – as Peter Harrison describes – the present territories of science and religion as they are typically understood, are not fixed certainties. The manner in which we typically understand what science and religion ‘are’ has a history, and these categories are changing over time. If there are features about the present prevailing territories that are problematic – and the project starts from the premise that this is indeed the case – then re-thinking what science and religion themselves could look like may prove more fruitful than pursuing the already well worked pathways of conflict, synthesis and demarcation between largely fixed concepts of what science and religion themselves are. The first gathering of this three year project – thanks to funding from the Templeton Foundation – was very fruitful. Two book projects are now underway as a result, one looking at ‘theology and science’, the other looking at ‘theologians on science’.

Cambridge, Peter House Garden.

Image: Peter House Garden, Cambridge, 2017.