Tom McLeish, "Faith and Wisdom in Science" (Oxford UP, 2014)


Much of the public debate about the relationship between science and theology has been antagonistic or adversarial. Proponents on both sides argue that their respective claims are contradictory--that the claims of science trump and even discredit the claims of religion or theology. Some have sought to portray the relationship in a different light. The evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould famously asserted that the two realms were "nonoverlapping magisteria." But recently theologians and scientists have begun to mark out new ground for robust conversation. Tom McLeish's book Faith and Wisdom in Science (Oxford University Press, 2014) takes this conversation to new heights. Locating the impulse for science in much biblical literature, particularly the wisdom books of the Hebrew Bible, he shows how one might understand science as a theological endeavor. Rather than a paradigm of "science and theology," he posits a "theology of science," an interrelationship that not only gives us new eyes with which to read the history of science more coherently but also yields a renewed appreciation for science as part of a "ministry of reconciliation" with the natural world and the causes of human suffering. Tom McLeish is Professor of Physics and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham University. He studied for his first degree and PhD in polymer physics at the University of Cambridge and in 1987 became a lecturer in physics at the University of Sheffield. In 1993 he took the chair in polymer physics at the University of Leeds. He took up his current position in Durham in 2008. He is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the American Physical Society, and the Royal Society. He is also involved in science communication with the public via radio, television, and school lectures, discussing topics ranging from the physics of slime to the interaction of faith and science.

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