SRSP 16-19 Topic 5 Unit 1e – A Jewish Perspective


This topic aims to present the ancient Jewish texts (Tenakh and Talmud) as being guides to life for Jews which engage in questions about God’s plans and life’s purpose. Scientific enquiry has a part in this and does not necessarily clash with it. Where they seem to clash Jewish writing has often been proactive in dealing with questions. Jewish thought can accommodate the creation/evolution, Big Bang/age of universe debate in different ways. There are different understandings of miracles in ancient and modern rabbinical interpretation.

The topic focusses on the Image of God and how Jewish thought might understand that in relation to scientific understandings of what it is to be human. Some case studies of actual Jewish responses to scientific issues include Maimonides (mediaeval rabbi and scientist, doctor and astronomer) Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik (twentieth century rabbi) and Lord Winston (contemporary scientist).

This unit consists of 2 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 16 to 19 years


Key Questions

  • Is humankind unique?
  • Are science and the Torah compatible?
  • How are traditional values, grounded in the Torah, and changing scientific values in dialogue?
  • Are science and traditional Jewish religious teaching compatible or incompatible?

Some of the materials can be viewed on screen and some can be downloaded for editing or printing. To view the pdf files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. See the about section for more details.

Unit Resources

Unit Overview

Link to Joel Primack video [Need to be online]

Link to Noah Efron video [Need to be online]

Link to Seth Shostak video [Need to be online]


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: The Torah and science


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: Are Science and Judaism compatible?

Student Resource Sheet 1: Judaism in a nutshell

Student Resource Sheet 2: Reflections of Jewish Thinkers

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)