Seminaries and Science at the AAR/SBL Annual Meeting

DoSER partnered with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) to host two additional meetings at the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion (AAR) annual conference. The two sessions were entitled, “Seminaries and Science: Challenges and Opportunities” and “Seminaries and Science: From Principles to Practice.” During these workshops we presented the benefits of incorporating forefront science into theological education.

Seminaries and Science – Challenges and Opportunities, 18 November 2011

Science and technology have an enormous impact on society, and many citizens seek guidance on these issues from trusted religious leaders. Many pastors and religious leaders, however, don’t feel prepared to discuss science because their own experience with it has been limited. They may not have encountered science in their theological education, nor do they have practical sources of reliable scientific information.

Given these concerns, AAAS and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) co-hosted a panel discussion on November 18 that explored the role of science in seminary education. Panelists included research scientists, clergy, seminary professors, students, and administrators. This event coincided with the American Academy of Religion (AAR) and Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) annual conference in San Francisco, the world’s largest meeting for religious studies scholars, with more than 10,000 attendees. The AAAS panel drew a standing-room only crowd of students and professors.

Panelists included:

  • Dr. Ron Cole-Turner, Professor of Theology and Ethics, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Christina Powell, Research Fellow on Bioinformatics, Harvard University
  • Dr. Doug Strong, Dean of School of Theology, Seattle Pacific University
  • Rev. Blake Horridge, Doctorate student in Theology, Claremont Graduate University
  • Bianca Quezada, M. Div., Princeton Theological Seminary

Seminaries and Science: From Principles to Practice, 19 November 2011

After considering the successes and struggles of science in core seminary classes on Friday, participants met on Saturday morning to look at the science portion of the Seminaries and Science project. Most attendees agreed it is a noble cause to teach theological education while heeding the excitement and ambiguities of the modern age, particularly the far-reaching implications of advancing science and technology. The goal of Saturday’s session was to consider the best methods for integration.

Science presentors included:

  •     Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Senior Project Scientist, Hubble Space Telescope, NASA
  •     Dr. James R. Doty, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University

Discussion leaders included:

  • Dr. Deborah Gil, Professor of Biblical Studies and Exposition,   Assemblies of God Theological Seminary
  • Dr. Peter Hess, Director of Religious Community Outreach, National Center for Science Education
  • Rev. Dr. Leonard Hummel, Professor of Pastoral Theology, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg

American Academy of Religion & Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting
Moscone Center & Surrounding Hotels
San Francisco, CA

Read a AAAS news story about the Science in Seminaries project.
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Return to DoSER program page.