Knowing the Unknowable: Science and Religions on God and the Universe (Library of Modern Religion)
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Albert Einstein once remarked that behind all observable things lay something quite unknowable. And the motivation for his own work in physics stemmed from something as apparently innocuous as his father first showing him a compass when he was a boy. Yet the wonder and inspiration of that moment , which he never forgot, led ultimately to his own stupendous scientific breakthroughs. This book explores that special territory perceived by Einstein: where the unknown takes over from everything that is understandable, familiar, and explicable. And that interface between known and unknown is of the very greatest importance: it lies at the heart of the human quest to take knowledge beyond the boundaries of the known. It is what scientists do when they undertake their research, from the trajectories of comets to the replication of cells. But is is also what religious people do when they start to explore their relationship with what they perceive as the divine. Their mutual effort to ""know the unknowable"" is a profoundly important way in which human beings explore the limits of themselves, as well as of the universe. Bringing together distinguished contributors, both scientists and theologians (including Rowan Williams the current Archbishop of Canterbury), to explore the implications of what such an invitation means in practice, this groundbreaking book explores important topics like cosmological absence, negativity in Christian mysticism, and the ""hiddenness"" of God in Buddhism.
and forms are no more, so that it is sunk and lost in this desert where its identity is destroyed and it has no more to do with things than it had before it existed. Then it is dead to self and alive to God.’ R. B. Blakney, Meister Introduction 7 8 9 10 11 12 29 Eckhart: A Modern Translation (New York: Harper, 1941), pp. 200f. On the failure of memes as a theory, see my Is God a Virus: Genes, Culture and Religion (London: SPCK, 1995), pp. 67–77. Among the most popular of the many stories
(London: Constable, 1950), pp. 215f. Doctor Dubitantium, 1660, 2.3 (Rule 9.31). Introduction 33 33 C. L. Eastlake, A History of the Gothic Revival (New York: Leicester University Press, 1970), p. 117. 34 When James Wyatt created these ‘long internal vistas’ in the cathedrals of Salisbury and Lichfield by clearing out whatever stood in the way, he earned for himself the nickname, ‘the Destroyer’. 35 C. Winkworth, trsl. of a hymn by J. Frank, ‘Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness’. 36 See,
Mikhaev, Smirnov and Wolfenstein were applied to correct the expected fluxes of the neutrinos of electron flavour at the Earth, then results of the neutrino experiments could be reproduced, including the substantial depletion in the fluxes of the electron neutrinos observed at the Earth. But this was not the end of the story. A modern version of the Fermi theory of beta-decay developed by Salam, Weinberg and Glashow (c. 1967) to unify electromagnetism with weak interactions indicated a possible
it. Theoretical knowledge, the sort of knowledge we look for in the natural sciences, is not available. Practical knowledge is knowledge presupposed to action though not observationally testable. An example of such practical knowledge, for Kant, is the knowledge that we are morally free. As far as the phenomenal world goes, we can know that all human acts, like everything else, are sufficiently determined by prior causes and the laws of nature (Kant thought), since Understanding requires us to
in a selection of rabbinic commentaries upon it. Here we shall see that the question of whether direct human interaction with the deity is possible (without risk of instantaneous death) is already a point of contention even within the Hebrew sources woven into the textus receptus of the Torah; and in early rabbinic discussion even greater squeamishness is evidenced in relation to the problem of Moses’s direct access to the divine. Further, and correlatively, the exact reason for Moses’s donning