SPR Proseminar

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About the Course

Rationale | Pedagogical Matters | Curriculum Details


The aim of this seminar is to introduce advanced students to core literature and key methodological debates within the interdisciplinary specialty of religion and science. Special attention is given to works on the qualifying examination reading list for the Science, Philosophy, and Religion PhD program.

This course is an advanced introduction to religion and science for students with some background in one or more of the disciplines of science, philosophy, and religion. Many issues vital to human self-understanding are in play at the intersection of religion and science, from the nature of rationality and the character of the world in which we live to questions about divine action and the meaning of religious narratives. Parallel to these issues is a range of ethical questions arising from ecology, genetics, and other spheres. This course focuses on theoretical issues rather than ethics but only for reasons of expediency; both are important.

The area of science and religion is not a discipline of study on the usual sense because it has no distinctive subject matter or method. Nevertheless, it is an area of great interest and productivity in our time with new literature appearing constantly and several notable journals devoted to it. This literature is usually interdisciplinary in character, striving toward a coordination or critical correlation of what is known from the disciplines that make contributions to the study of religion and science.

The course examines four classes of theoretical issues in the area of science and religion: the history of relations between the two, issues of comparative method, disciplinary perspectives, and instances within the interdisciplinary conversation of attempts to further understanding of a particular problem. The course schedule conforms to these four areas of investigation.

Pedagogical Matters

The pedagogical principles adopted by the teaching staff, as well as their execution, are subject to ongoing evaluation. End-of-semester course evaluations are particularly helpful in that regard. This course changes each year in part because of what previous generations of students has to say on those forms. This web page offers another opportunity to profit from the wisdom and experience of this year's class by inviting email comments during the semester about the teaching methods and performance of the staff. To make those comments, please email the instructors (Prof. Wildman's email address is in the left column and Prof. Wegter-McNelly's email address is kwm@bu.edu).

Curriculum Details

In CAS Department of Religion: Only Seniors and Juniors with significant background in one or more of natural science, philosophy, or religion, AND permission of instructor.

In GRS Division of Religious and Theological Studies: Some background in one or more of natural science, philosophy, or religion, OR permission of instructor.

In the School of Theology: TT810 (Theology II) OR permission of instructor. You can petition to have this course fulfill the requirement in the M.Div. program for a Theology III core elective.

The information on this page is copyright 1994-2010, Wesley Wildman (basic information here), unless otherwise noted. If you want to use ideas that you find here, please be careful to acknowledge this site as your source, and remember also to credit the original author of what you use, where that is applicable. If you want to use text or stories from these pages, please contact me at the feedback address for permission.