Science and religion, the Jewish position



Almost every year, at least one of the Nobel Prize winners is a Jew. Considering that only about 0.3% of the world’s population is Jewish, this suggests a close relationship between Judaism and science. The Jewish Talmudic specialist, Maimonides, was one of the most famous physicians of his time, and he was asked to serve as court physician by Richard I, the Lion Heart. More than 1000 years before Galileo Galilei, Rabban Gamaliel already had an extensive knowledge of astronomy (e.g. he seems to have known that comets have a period of appearance1, an observation that was first made in Europe as late as the 17th. century). Thus, it is clear that science has always held an important place in the life of the Jews.


Human Science Oral Tradition Nobel Prize Winner Jewish Tradition Eternal Truth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Talmud, Horayot 10a.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Talmud, Sukkah 28a and Me-iri on that place.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Talmud, Eruvim 43b.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Leviticus 25:1–7.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Epistle to Slonimsky in Toledot Ha-shamayim, Warsaw 1938.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    P. Moore and J. Mason, The return of Halley’s comet (2nd. ed.), Patrick Stephens Ltd., Wellingborough 1985; Ch.4.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Talmud, Pesachim 89b.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    W. Wordsworth, Lines written in the spring, 8.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Deuteronomy 6:8.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mishnah, Makkot 1:10.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Leviticus 18:4.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sifrei on Ecclesiastes 5:17.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Isaiah 55:2.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Radak on Isaiah 55:2.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Mishnah, Avot 5:23.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Exodus 23:13.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Zohar II:124.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Deuteronomy 17:14–20.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    ibid. v. 17.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rabbenu Bachya on Avot 5:23.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Deuteronomy 13:2–4.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Talmud, Avodah Zarah 26b.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 3:7.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Talmud, Berakhot 12b, Steinsalz edition, Jerusalem 1970.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Talmud, Chagigah 14b.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mishneh Torah, Yesodei Torah 4:13.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Deuteronomy 4:32.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Talmud, Chagigah 11b.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Siftei Kohen on Shulchan Arukh, Yoreh De’ah 264:4; Be-er Heitev on the same place; Response of Hai Gaon to Shmu-el Hanaggid on the study of philosophy; Letter of Rambam to the sages of France; see also Encyclopedia Talmudit on philosophy, Talmudic Encyclopedia Publ., Jerusalem 1979; Vol. 15, pp. 79–80.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ecclesiastes 7:18.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Iggerot Kena-ot, response of the Radak, p. 3; Zohar on Tazry’a 47:2–48:1.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Rabbenu Bachya on Avot 3:23; Maharal, Netivot Olam on the same place.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sermons of the Chatam Sofer 112b (on Beshalach).Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Letters of Rambam to R. Jonathan Hakohen, Responsa of Rambam, J. Blau edition, Vol. III, p. 57 (compare Samuel I 8:13).Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    (a) R. Barukh of Shklov, Introduction on the book Euclid;Google Scholar
  36. (b) R. Israel of Shklov, Introduction on the Pe-at Ha-shulchan.Google Scholar
  37. 36.
    Talmud, Berakhot 58a.Google Scholar
  38. 37.
    Maharal, Netivot Ha-olam, Netiv Ha-torah, Ch. 14.Google Scholar
  39. 38.
    Responses of Rema, no. VII.Google Scholar
  40. 39.
    Deuteronomy 4:35.Google Scholar
  41. 40.
    Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 10:6.Google Scholar
  42. 41.
    Talmud, Sanhedrin 17a.Google Scholar
  43. 42.
    Mishneh Torah, Sanhedrin 2:1.Google Scholar
  44. 43.
    Mishnah, Avot 2:14.Google Scholar
  45. 44.
    Me-iri on Mishnah, Avot 2:14; Talmud, Bava Kamma 83a.Google Scholar
  46. 45.
    Exodus 21:18,19.Google Scholar
  47. 46.
    Talmud, Berakhot 60a.Google Scholar
  48. 47.
    Deuteronomy 22:1–3.Google Scholar
  49. 48.
    Sifrei on Deutoronomy 22:1–3; Talmud, Bava Kamma 81b; Rambam, Torat Ha-adam, subject Sakkanah; Rambam, Perush Ha-mishnah on Nedarim 4:4.Google Scholar
  50. 49.
    Talmud, Shabbat 75a.Google Scholar
  51. 50.
    Isaiah 5:12.Google Scholar
  52. 51.
    Sefer Chasidim, Machberet 150, 1469.Google Scholar
  53. 52.
    Leviticus 21:1.Google Scholar
  54. 53.
    Lucas 10:33.Google Scholar
  55. 54.
    Leviticus 18:5.Google Scholar
  56. 55.
    Iggerot Mosheh, Yoreh De’ah, Vol. III, 155.Google Scholar
  57. 56.
    ibid. Yoreh De’ah, Vol. III, 150; E. Landau, Responsa Noda Biyhudah, Mahadura Tinyana, Yoreh De’ah, no. 210.Google Scholar
  58. 57.
    See e.g., Iggerot Mosheh, Yoreh De’ah, Vol. II, 286.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research associate NWO(The Netherlands organization for scientific research) / Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations