Judaism and Evolution
“All beginnings are challenging.”
Rashi, pre-eminent Rabbi and commentator

Just over 150 years ago Charles Darwin published the Origin of Species, a book destined to have a profound effect on human thought. To many, Darwin became a hero of vision, reason and intellectual courage; but to others he is an unmatched, rebellious heretic.

His work launched Evolutionary Science and no other branch of science has been more used to challenge religion than the theory of evolution which has come to be the stock-in-trade of the modern atheist. As Richard Dawkins writes, “Darwin, for the first time, made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist”. No other branch of science is viewed with more suspicion and mistrust than evolution. And yet, evolutionary science is now the foundation of biology and its concepts are fundamental to all branches of the sciences of living organisms, including medical science. Is Darwinian evolution still a forbidden black box to the religious person? Or, the opposite, can evolution enhance one's faith in Hashem?

This introductory course of three presentations aims to introduce the concepts of biological evolution and explore whether it is a threat to religious faith or the opposite.

The four presentations are titled:

  1. Evolution: Introducing the challenge
  2. Evolution: Let's look at the evidence
  3. Evolution: Are humans special?
  4. Evolution: Does it challenge faith?

Join the Academy in partnership with King David, SABJE and Soul in an age-old search for truth, as we journey through science and Torah to quest for answers to this question.

Our 4-week introductory course will explore the origins of evolutionary theory as well as Torah responses to science throughout time.

Professor Barry Schoub and Rabbi Ramon Widmonte will present this course. Professor Schoub is Professor Emeritus of Virology at Wits and former Executive Director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases. He holds senior doctorates in both medicine and science and last year was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe (Silver) by the State President – the country’s highest civilian honour. Rabbi Widmonte is the Dean of the Academy.

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The Academy is a vibrant, modern-orthodox program for Jewish thought, scholarship and education and that inspires our community with a lifelong love of Jewish learning. About us…

In association with Mizrachi South Africa and the London School of Jewish Studies (President: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Dean: Rabbi Dr Raphael Zarum, Honorary President: Emeritus Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks)