This is a heads up about a special conference on science and faith that will take place October 25–26, 2019 at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY.
Every other year Northeastern Seminary co-sponsors a Fall theology conference with the Canadian-American Theological Association.
In 2019 the conference will have another co-sponsor—the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation. Other co-sponsors might include the American Scientific Affiliation and BioLogos.
Keynote Speaker—William Brown
Our keynote speaker has already been booked—William P. Brown, professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary.
Brown is an excellent biblical scholar and teacher, who has always had an interest in science. He is the author of many books on biblical interpretation that I have found helpful.
One of his best, which is directly relevant to the theme of the conference, is The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder (Oxford University Press, 2010). In this book Brown examines seven different creation accounts in the Old Testament and imaginatively links them to his reflections on various aspects of the natural world that we have discovered through scientific exploration.
In my 2017 essay on the relationship of the Garden of Eden narrative to the evolution of humanity (“Reading Genesis 3 Attentive to Human Evolution: Beyond Concordism and Non-Overlapping Magisteria”), I cited Brown’s methodology in The Ten Pillars of Creation book as my model for how to think about the possible relationship of the Bible and evolution.
Brown and Middleton Essays for a Future Book
Brown and I are writing two chapters on the Old Testament for a volume entitled Christian Theology and the Modern Sciences, edited by John Slattery. I will be writing on Genesis 1–2, while Brown will write on the wisdom literature. We will each address how our assigned portion of Scripture relates to matters of ecology and science.
Interestingly, I was originally asked to contribute a chapter on the New Testament, based on a paper I gave in 2017 on the relevance of New Testament eschatology for ecology at the Society of Biblical Literature. When I explained that New Testament was not my primary expertise, I was offered a chapter on the Old Testament instead.
A tentative Table of Contents for the entire volume is as follows:
Part 1: A History of Christian Theology and Science
2. Hebrew Bible (Middleton)
3. Hebrew Bible (Brown)
4. New Testament
5. New Testament
6. Augustine of Hippo
7. Cappadocian Fathers
8. Maximus and John of Damascus
9. Hildegard of Bingen
10. Francis of Assisi
11. Thomas Aquinas
12. Hesychast Controversy and Gregory Palamas
13. Post-Reformation Catholic Figure
17. 20th and 21st Century Catholic Voices on Nature and Science
18. 20th and 21st Century Protestant Voices on Nature and Science
19. 20th and 21st Century Orthodox Voices on Nature and Science
Part 2: Reconsidering Theology and Science Narratives
20. HB and Race/Gender
21. NT and Race/Gender
22. Theological & Scientific Origins of Misogyny
23. Theological & Scientific Origins of Racism
24. Linnaeus and Human Stratification
25. Exemplar Chapter on Theology, Science, Race, Gender in 19th/20th/21st
26. Exemplar Chapter on Theology, Science, Race, Gender in 19th/20th/21st
27. Exemplar Chapter on Theology, Science, Race, Gender in 19th/20th/21st
Part 3: Broadening the Possibilities for Theology and Science
28. Physical Sciences
29. Biological Sciences
30. Medical Sciences
31. Social Sciences
32. Psychological Sciences
33. Environmental Sciences
Christian Theology and the Modern Sciences will be published in the “Companions” series by Bloomsbury / T&T Clark.
An Interview with Brown and Middleton
Back in May 2015 Brown and I were interviewed together in a live streaming event on Google Hangout by Matt Lynch of the Westminster Theological Center in the UK.
The focus of the interview was on themes arising from our most recent books, Brown’s Wisdom’s Wonder: Character, Creation, and Crisis in the Bible’s Wisdom Literature (Eerdmans, 2014) and my A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Baker Academic, 2014), along with and my earlier book The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Brazos, 2005).
You can watch a recording of the interview here.
Don’t Forget the Science and Faith Conference
Remember to make a note to reserve October 25–26, 2019.
There will be a Call for Papers sent out from Northeastern Seminary and from each of the co-sponsoring organizations.
So stay tuned for more information about the conference as the time draws near.