April 2000
volume 12 (1)

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Editorial: Science and Postmodernism

Ernest Lucas
Pages: 2-20


Modern Astronomy and Our Perception of the Universe

Peter J. Bussey
Pages: 3-15


The change in our perception of the cosmos introduced by modern astronomy, starting with Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler, has had wideranging repercussions on the human worldview, both secular and religious. The immensity of the universe and the apparent bleakness of outer space produce possible problems for faith; these are examined, and solutions are proposed.


How Many People Were in the Exodus from Egypt?

Colin J. Humphreys
Pages: 17-34


The very large numbers of people at the Exodus from Egypt recorded in the book of Numbers is a very well known Old Testament problem. In this paper a new mathematical and textural analysis is given which shows that if there were ‘273 first born Israelites who exceed the number of Levites’ (Num. iii 43), then the total number of Israelite men aged over 20 in the census following the Exodus was about 5000, not 603,550 as apparently recorded in Numbers. The apparent error in Numbers arises because the ancient Hebrew word ‘lp can mean ‘thousand’, ‘troop’, or ‘leader’, according to the context. On our interpretation, all the figures in Numbers are internally consistent including the numbers at both censuses, the encampment numbers, etc. In addition we deduce that the number of males in the average Israelite family at the time of the Exodus was 8 to 9, consistent with the concern of the Egyptians that the Israelites had ‘multiplied greatly’ whilst in Egypt (Exod. i 7). The total number of men, women and children at the Exodus was about 20,000 rather than the figure of over 2 million apparently suggested by the book of Numbers.


Consonance, Assimilation or Correlation?: Science and Religion ................. 35 Courses in Higher Education

Peter Fulljames and Tonie Stolberg
Pages: 35-46


The recent rapid increase in the number of courses on science and religion in higher education in Britain means it is now possible to analyse the different educational strategies employed and to identify different assumptions about how science and religion can be related. The analysis of sixteen course outlines, coupled with interviews with staff of four courses, shows that the typology of Barbour is not sensitive enough for this purpose as all the courses assume that there is to be dialogue rather than conflict, independence or integration. Polkinghorne’s categories of assimilation and consonance are useful as they represent different approaches in dialogue but many courses do not fit neatly into either of these categories. It is illuminating to think of courses as encouraging the contextualisation of faith in a scientific context, and the category of correlation is introduced from studies of method in theology. While some courses aim merely to show that there can be consonance between science and religion, there are others which work towards the more systematic interaction of assimilation, and there are yet others which appear to be intermediate and allow for different patterns of correlation in different areas of dialogue.



David A. Booth

David A. Booth
Pages: 65-66


Book reviews

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Science and Theology: An Introduction

John Polkinghorne (Mike Poole)
Pages: 67-67

A Theory of Almost Everything

Robert Barry (Reg Luhman)
Pages: 68-69

Green Eye of the Storm

John Rendle-Short (Steve Bishop)
Pages: 69-69

God, Religion and Reality

Stephen R.L. Clark (Christopher Southgate)
Pages: 70-70

Teaching about Science and Religion

Michael Poole (Michael Walker)
Pages: 70-71

Virtual Morality: Christian Ethics in the Computer Age

Graham Houston (David Attwood)
Pages: 71-72

The Roots of Science: An Investigative Journey Through the World’s Religions

Harold Turner (Ernest Lucas)
Pages: 72-73

Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

Edward O. Wilson (Arthur Jones)
Pages: 73-75

Noah‘s Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries about the Event that Changed History

William Ryan and Walter Pitman (Bob White)
Pages: 75-78

All Life is Problem Solving

Karl R. Popper (Valerie MacKay)
Pages: 78-79

Romancing the Universe: Theology, Science and Cosmology

Jeffrey G. Sobosan (Rodney Holder)
Pages: 79-80

Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder

Richard Dawkins (Mike Poole)
Pages: 80-84

The Body of Compassion: Ethics, Medicine and the Church

Joel J. Shuman (John Wilkinson)
Pages: 84-84

Genes, Genesis & God: Values and their origins in natural and human history

Holmes Rolston III (John A. Bryant)
Pages: 85-86

The Fifth Miracle

Paul Davis (Stuart Lucas)
Pages: 87-87

Being a Person: Where Faith and Science Meet

John Habgood (Mike Rees)
Pages: 88-90

Brave New Worlds: Staying Human in the Genetic Future

Brian Appleyard (Brian Haymes)
Pages: 90-91

Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science

National Academy of Sciences (Adrian Brown)
Pages: 91-92

Science and Religion: an introduction

Alister E. McGrath (William K. Kay)
Pages: 92-93

God, Humanity, and the Cosmos: A Textbook in Science and Religion

Christopher Southgate (ed.) John Weaver)
Pages: 93-94

Whatever Happened to the Soul?

Warren S. Brown, Nancey Murphy and H. Newton Malony (eds.) (Paul Marston)
Pages: 94-96