The topic of this book is "creation." It breaks down into discussions of two distinct but interrelated questions: What does the universe look like, and what is its origin? Texts considered come from the Hebrew scriptures, Greek philosophy, Jewish philosophy, and contemporary physics. Original conclusions follow about a diversity of topics, including the limits of human reason and religious faith, the relevance of scientific models to religious doctrine, and the nature of the relationship between God and the universe.
"The modern dialogue/conflict between religion and science has been almost exclusively the realm of Protestants and Catholics. Samuelson...provides an impressive overview of key Jewish authors--ancient, medieval and modern--whose works provide the most meaningful insight into the dialogue. His grasp of modern physics is also impressive...[the book is] provocative and rewarding." Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation "This is a sophisticated and valuable work that libraries serving advanced Judaica and philosophy programs will want to purchase." Choice "...his work is one of the few lucid and intelligent efforts to cross this modern divide, his study will be useful to scholars of Jewish philosophy and the philosophy of science." Mara Benjamin, Religious Studies Review "Samuelson concludes by drawing on quantum mechanics and recent scientific cosmogonies to offer correlations between contemporary physics and traditional Jewish thinking about creation...lucid and intelligent..." Mara Benjamin, Religious Studies Review "Samuelson's approach to the religion-science interaction ultimately provides a foundation for judging, critiquing the adequacy of contemporary cosmology for the future of Jewish thought...Samuelson's efforts to draw us into that world are lucid and instructive...the new book by Samuelson is a vital, lucid, creative contribution." James F. Moore, Zygon "The book is provacative in its breadth, raising significant issues beyond even its admittedly broad-ranging topic. Samuelson provides an opportunity for the reader to contemplate not only the relation between ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish and scientific accounts of creation, but also the relation between religion and science more broadly defined...Judaism and the Doctrine of Creation is a book that should cause us to think more deeply about the scope and possibilities of modern theology in general, and of Jewish philosophy in particular." Leora Batinitzky, Modern Theology