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Short Course in Cambridge. Reading the World: Science and Sacred Texts

Madingley Hall: April 28-30, 2017

Deadline for applications: March 31, 2017

Aim of Course

How do people read and understand their sacred scriptures in a scientific age? How do the scriptures relate to scientific questions surrounding human origins, cosmology and ecology? How have the Abrahamic faiths negotiated between scripture and science throughout their long histories, and how do they do so today?

The focus of this weekend course will be the Bible and the Qur’an and their reception and interpretation in Christianity and Islam respectively. Lectures will be delivered by scholars with expertise in each tradition from the perspectives of history, theology and philosophy, as well as contemporary social science. The weekend is aimed at interested people from a variety of backgrounds, rather than at specialists in any particular discipline.

The subsidised cost of attending this course is as follows:
Residential £240, students £140;
Non-residential £130, students £80

Speakers (listed in alphabetical order) and topics

See multimedia items for this course or click on specific talk title in the course schedule to see available resources for that talk.

Click on a speaker's name to obtain brief biographical details.


The course will be held at Madingley Hall, Madingley, Cambridge, CB23 8AQ.

Set in magnificent gardens just four miles from the centre of Cambridge, Madingley Hall provides a memorable setting.
Built in the 16th century, this elegant country house has en-suite accommodation, all within seven acres of spectacular gardens and grounds, designed in the 18th century by ‘Capability’ Brown.

Directions to Madingley Hall are available here

Application Form

Course Schedule

Friday April 28
5.00 pmRegistration
6.30 pmDinner
8.00 pmWelcome and Introductions
8.15 pmDr Caroline Tee: Science and Sacred Texts: Ways of Reading
9.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
9.30 pmDrinks and more discussion
Saturday April 29
8.00 amBreakfast
9.15 am Laura Hassan, Dr James Hannam: God’s Two Books in Islam and Christianity
10.30 amQuestions and Discussion
11.10 amCoffee Break
11.15 amRevd Dr Ernest Lucas: Science, the Bible and Human Origins
12.15 pmQuestions and Discussion
1.00 pmLunch
2.15 pmDr Colin Turner: Modern Science and Qur’anic Exegesis
3.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
3.30 pmTea Break
4.00 pmRevd Prof. Alasdair Coles, Dr Mike Thompson: Neuroscience, the Bible and the Soul
4.45 pmQuestions and Discussion
5.15 pmTea Break
7.00 pmDinner
8.30 pmAny Questions? Discussion panel with the speakers
9.30 pmDrinks and more discussion
Sunday April 30
8.00 amBreakfast
9.15 am Harfiyah Haleem, Dr Cherryl Hunt: Qur’anic and Biblical Approaches to the Environment
10.30 amQuestions and Discussion
11.00 amCoffee Break
11.30 amProfessor Martin Reixinger: Evolution and the Qur’an in the Contemporary Muslim World
12.15 pmQuestions and Discussion
1.00 pmLunch
2.15 pmDr Hilary Marlow: Evolutionary Biology and the Bible
3.00 pmQuestions and Discussion
3.30 pmTea and Depart