Jewish Responses to Evolution

Geoffrey Cantor

in Quakers, Jews, and Science

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9780199276684
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603389 | DOI:
 Jewish Responses to Evolution

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Drawing mainly on the Anglo-Jewish periodical press, it appears that Jewish writers were generally supportive of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Having been chastised on many occassions as anti-intellectual, Jews could portray themselves as traditionally siding with science and rationality at a time when many Christians strenuously opposed evolution. Yet Alfred Henriques was alone in perceiving that Darwin’s theory was as damaging to traditional Judaism as it was to mainstream Christianity. Following Henriques, Claude Goldsmid Montefiore and others pressed for the development of a modern form of Judaism — what became Liberal Judaism — that could encompass an evolutionary account of the physical world. Among the scientific community, Raphael Meldola — who looked to Darwin as his mentor — was the leading Jewish evolutionist.

Keywords: Anglo-Jewry; evolution; Jewish periodical press; liberal Judaism; Raphael Meldola; Claude Goldsmid Montefiore; Alfred Henriques

Chapter.  11098 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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