Pope John Paul II gave an important talk to theologians at the Pontifical University of Salamanca. Illustrating theology’s task, in relation to the other sciences and in serving the people of God, he said in part: “Dearest professors: you know that I, who was also a scholar and university professor, understand the difficulties and enormous demands of your work. It is a silent task that is carried out in self-sacrifice and requires your total dedication to research and teaching. Teaching without intellectual inquiry and research runs the risk of falling into ‘routine.’ You must know how to be creative each day, and to do this, you must be well-informed on current questions by assiduously reading the best publications and by a sustained effort in thinking and reflecting. Do theology with the rigor of thought and disposition of one who loves Christ, his Church, and the good of humankind. Be tenacious and constant in the continuous development of your ideas and in the precision of your language. I ask you not to forget these words: ‘Your mission in the Church is as arduous as it is important.’ ”
The Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (ISSN: 2037-2329), published by the Centro di Documentazione Interdisciplinare di Scienza e Fede operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, provides new, scholarly articles in the rapidly growing international field of Religion and Science. Most of these articles were written primarily by European authors and are available here for the first time in English. They offer a unique window into the approaches and perspectives of the European community toward what has become a field of immense cultural significance throughout the world. Each article provides a very readable and comprehensive summary of what is currently being discussed in religion and science on specific topics as well as how these topics have been discussed historically.
In order to make certain documents better known in the scientific community, the Anthology and Documents section provides key materials for study and reflection concerning the dialogue among science, philosophy, and theology. It includes scientists’ essays, masterpieces on the history of science, works of philosophers and theologians, and documents from ancient, medieval, and Renaissance authors, as well as Sacred Scripture and official documents of the Catholic Church and other Christian churches.