This special issue of Zygon has grown out of two activities: the twentieth anniversary celebration of the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science (CASIRAS) and of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, and the tradition of the Zygon editorial office to produce a cumulative index of the journal every five years.
The twentieth anniversary of CASIRAS (including its predecessor, the Center for Advanced Study in Theology and the Sciences-CASTS) and Zygon was celebrated on the afternoon and evening of 10 January 1986 at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. The celebration was organized by Philip Hefner, professor of systematic theology and director of graduate studies at the Lutheran School.
This essay gives a brief history and presents an analysis of the aims and accomplishments of the two institutions as seen by the author. The analysis seeks to describe and justify some of their basic presuppositions. Primary has been their belief that scientifically informed understandings of religion do enrich our appreciation of and faith in it. For instance, religions recently discovered roles in the evolution and development of sociocultural systems and personalities provide new credibility and importance for religious heritage. Recent translations between contemporary scientific and ancient religious concepts give new hope for religious reform, revitalization, and effectiveness for human salvation in an age of science.
Ralph Wendell Burhoe, 1524 East 59 Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637, is research professor emeritus in theology and the sciences, Meadville/Lombard Theological School.
Reflections on the First Twenty Years of CASIRAS: A Personal Review by Malcolm R. Sutherland, Jr.
The history of CASIRAS and of Zygon is not only an intellectual history but a personal history—a history of human encounter with hopes and disappointments, dreams and concessions. Notwithstanding, it is the story of an ambitious enterprise with significant achievements and genuine promise of continued contributions to this important inquiry.
Malcolm R. Sutherland, Jr. is president emeritus of Meadville/Lombard Theological School and minister of Harvard Unitarian Church, Harvard, Massachusetts 01451.
The Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science: A Personal Perspective by George A. Riggan
This brief account of my year as a fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies in Theology and the Sciences recounts the invaluable supports given by the center to my efforts as a theologian to assess the scientific aspects of the theology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, summarizes my findings, and indicates some of the potential for the support of interdisciplinary studies in religion and the sciences afforded by the successor organization, the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science.
George A. Riggan, Leshures at Cross Road, Rowe, Massachusetts 01367, is professor emeritus of systematic theology, Hartford Seminary Foundation.
The Challenge of the Future to the Science-Religion Dialogue by Don Browning
Abstract: Zygon and the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science have exhibited two foci: the theoretical, concerned with questions of cosmology and human nature, and the practical, concerned with issues of morality and ritual. These foci overlap, but in recent years interest in the practical has increased. This has implications for science-religion dialogue: rather than simply discussing theoretically points of identity, similarity, and difference between science and religion, focus on the practical leads to examining how each functions in its own way to inform moral life. Increased interest in the practical is commendable, but theoretical concerns should not be excluded.
Don Browning is Alexander Campbell Professor of Religion and Psychology at the Divinity School, the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637.
A Christian Seminarys Support for Religion-Science Discussion by William E. Lesher
A Christian seminary supports the study of religion and science, in order to relate its faith to people living in scientifically oriented cultures. It invites the scientific and university communities to join in developing a model for dialogue that may be a basis for more ecumenical efforts at relating religion and science, so as to ease tensions between religious communities. The work pioneered by the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science and by Zygon is giving rise to new enterprises, including the coming establishment of a Center for the Study of Faith and Science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
William E. Lesher is president of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1100 E. 55th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60615.
The Contours of an Emerging Territory: Impressions of Twenty Years of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science by Karl E. Peters
While the general territory mapped by the founders of the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science and Zygon remains the same, how one delineates the contours of this territory depends partly on personal histories and on whether one is a theologian, a scientist, a scholar of religious studies, or a philosopher. However, the pluralism in the CASIRAS-Zygon community can be placed in a more comprehensive, evolutionary framework, in which the different approaches exert cultural selection pressures on each other. The most important selection pressure is having to make scholarly work usable by nonscholars seeking meaning for their lives in a scientific age.
Karl E. Peters is editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science and professor of philosophy and religion, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida 32789-4496.