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Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science

Edited by G. Tanzella-Nitti, I. Colagè and A. Strumia


The Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (INTERS) is a dynamic, on line only data base, consisting in extensive, updated entries, signed by scholars who are accomplished in both scientific and humanistic research work. The Encyclopedia is intended to provide sound review articles in the rapidly growing international field of Religion and Science. Each article provides a readable and comprehensive summary of what is currently being discussed in religion and science on specific topics as well as how these topics were discussed historically.

The Catalogue of the Encyclopedia is still in progress. New articles are introduced and those already on line are ready to be updated by their Authors under the direction of the Editors. A good number of the articles belonging to the INTERS dynamic data base, were originally published in Italian as part of the Dizionario Interdisciplinare di Scienza e Fede (Rome: Urbaniana University Press - Città Nuova, 2002 - ISBN 88-401-1050-X), a two-volume Encyclopedia written primarily by European authors.

A first project of translating into English part of the articles of the Italian Dizionario was supported by The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley, to foster the dialogue between European and American scholars on some of the most important topics in Religion and Science.

Part of the English version of the Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science has been supported by CTNS

About the Encyclopaedia

The Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science (INTERS) is intended to satisfy in a qualified way a specific cultural necessity in the field of Religion and Science. Through the appropriate entries of a comprehensible and easy to consult Catalogue, the reader will find an updated summary of what religion and science have to say on a specific item and/or how they came into debate on that same item throughout history. The discussion is focused mainly on the Judaeo-Christian idea of God, because that religious tradition was especially interwoven with the history and the development of scientific thought

Believing readers, university students, teachers or intellectuals, who have no special acquaintance with religion and science literature and want to compare the content of their religious faith with the outcomes of contemporary natural sciences, are often faced with popular literature that is philosophically unsound. They usually do not have an easy access to high quality interdisciplinary literature, whose circulation is generally confined to restricted cultural groups. Those who are non believers, on the other hand, find some difficulties in approaching the teachings of Christian theology, which have a specialized diffusion as well. As a consequence, they have incomplete or even incorrect information on what religious faith says on scientific topics.

The proposed subject-headings are meant to answer directly the most pivotal problems in the debate between religion and science or, at least, to put that debate on its right track. Some headings correspond to specific disciplines to show how the religion/science debate or dialogue took place and has developed up to now in that particular field of human culture. Philosophic headings are offered as well, to cast light on the conceptual knots of the debate. Theological entries supply the reader with original sources necessary to understand the content of believers' faith on issues of major religious importance. A special attention is given to those items which have an extended and consolidated role in the mass media (Ecology, Extraterrestrial Life, Artificial Intelligence, Mind-Body relationship, New Age, Shroud of Turin, etc.).

The Italian summaries of the articles that belonged to the complete Catalogue of the published Italian Dizionario Interdisciplinare di Scienza e Fede are available on line.

How to quote the Encyclopedia

INTERS data base is a dynamic, on line only Encyclopedia. Articles are periodically updated under the control and supervision of the Editors.
INTERS can be read at one of these URL addresses:
To refer to the content of the articles, please quote Author, Title and its source:
INTERS– Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science, edited by G. Tanzella-Nitti , I. Colagè and A. Strumia,
All INTERS articles are captioned by a DOI number. 


To read the articles properly

Abbreviations, sources and Latin titles of documents, are captioned as follows:


CDF Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
Heb. in Hebrew
Gr. in Greek
ITC International Theological Commission
Lat. in Latin
LEV Libreria Editrice Vaticana
NT The New Testament
OT The Old Testament
PBC Pontifical Biblical Commission



AAS Acta Apostolicae Sedis, Roma - Vatican City 1909f
ASS Acta Sanctae Sedis, Romae 1865-1908
CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church, Città del Vaticano 1997 on line at
DH H. DENZINGER, Enchiridion Simbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum. The numbers refer to the updated version edited by P. Hünermann, Freiburg i.B. 1991.
Discorsi e Radiomessaggi Collection of Teachings of Pius XII, Discorsi e Radiomessaggi di Sua Santità Pio XII, 20 vols., Vita e Pensiero, Milano and LEV, Città del Vaticano 1941-1959
EE Enchiridion delle Encicliche (Bologna: Dehoniane, 1994f)
EV Enchiridion Vaticanum (Bologna: Dehoniane, 1966f)
General Audience

John Paul II, Wendsday's General Audiences: on line at

Benedict XVI, Wensday's General Audiences: on line at

Francis, Wensday's General Audiences: on line at

Insegnamenti Collection of Teachings of the Popes, Paul VI (1963-1978) and John Paul II (1978f), LEV, Vatican City.
OR L'Osservatore Romano, Vatican City
ORWE L'Osservatore Romano, English Weekly Edition, Vatican City
Papal Addresses Benedict XV - John Paul II , Papal Addresses to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (1917-2002) and to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (1994-2002) , “Pontificiae Academiae Scientiarum Scripta Varia”, n. 100 (Vatican City: Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 2003)



DFT Dictionary of Fundamental Theology, edited by R. Latourelle and R. Fisichella, Crossroad, New York 1994
Diels-Kranz Diels-Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Berlin 196612
DSB Dictionary of Scientific Biographies, edited by C. Gillispie, 16 voll., Scribner's, New York 1970-1980
DTC Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, 15 vols., Paris 1903-1946
NDTB Nuovo Dizionario di Teologia Biblica, edited by P. Rossano, G. Ravasi, A. Girlanda, San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo 1988
PG J.P. MIGNE, Patrologiae cursus completus, Ecclesia Graeca, Paris 1857-1866
PL J.P. MIGNE, Patrologiae cursus completus, Ecclesia Latina, Paris 1844-1855
SC Sources Chrétiennes, Editions du Cerf, Paris 1942f
TDNT G. Kittel , G. Friedrich (eds.), Theological Dictionary of the New Testament , transl. by G.W. Bromiley, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids (MI) 1965f
TLOT E. Jenni, C. Westermann (eds.), Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament , transl. by M.E. Biddle, 3 vols., Hendrickson, Peabody (MA) 1997



Only documents published after the First Vatican Council (1870) are here listed. The titles and dates of the documents issued before 1870 are reported in the texts of the articles. The dates of the documents quoted here and along the whole data base are written according to the convention DD.MM.YYYY.

Apostolicam actuositatem Second Vatican Council, decr. Apostolicam actuositatem, 18.11.1965
Caritas in Veritate Benedictus XVI, encyclical Caritas in Veritate, 29.6.2009
Centesimus annus John Paul II, encyclical Centesimus annus, 1.5.1991
Christus Dominus Second Vatican Council, decr. Christus Dominus, 28.10.1965
Dei Filius First Vatican Council, dogm. const. Dei Filius, 24.4.1870
Dei Verbum Second Vatican Council, dogm. const. Dei Verbum, 18.11.1965
Deus caritas est Benedict XVI, encyclical Deus caritas est, 25.12.2005
Dignitatis humanae Second Vatican Council, decl. Dignitatis humanae, 7.12.1965
Dignitas personae CDF, instruction Dignitas personae, 8.9.2008
Dies Domini John Paul II, apostolic lett. Dies Domini, 31.5.1998
Dives in misericordia John Paul II, encyclical Dives in misericordia, 30.11.1980
Divino afflante Spiritu Pius XII, encyclical Divino afflante Spiritu, 30.9.1943
Dolentium hominum John Paul II, apostolic lett. Dolentium hominum, 11.2.1985
Dominum et vivificantem John Paul II, encyclical Dominum et vivificantem, 18.5.1986
Dominus Iesus CDF, instruction Dominus Iesus, 6.8.2000
Donum Veritatis CDF, instruction Donum veritatis, 24.5.1990

Donum vitae

CDF, instruction Donum Vitae, 22.2.1987
Evangelii gaudium Francis, apostolic exhort. Evangelii Gaudium, 24.11.2013
Evangelii nuntiandi Paul VI, apostolic exhort. Evangelii nuntiandi, 8.12.1975
Evangelium vitae John Paul II, encyclical Evangelium vitae, 25.3.1995
Ex corde Ecclesiae John Paul II, apostolic const. on the Catholic Universities, Ex corde Ecclesiae, 15.8.1990
Familiaris Consortio John Paul II, apostolic exhort. Familiaris Consortio, 22.11.1981
Fides et ratio John Paul II, encyclical Fides et ratio, 14.9.1998
Fratelli tutti Francis, encyclical Fratelli tutti, 3.10.2020
Gaudium et spes Second Vatican Council, past. const. Gaudium et Spes, 7.12.1965
Gravissimum educationis Second Vatican Council, decree Gravissimum educationis, 28.10.1965
Humanae vitae Paul VI, encyclical Humanae vitae, 25.7.1968
Humani generis Pius XII, encyclical Humani generis, 12.8.1950
Immortale Dei Leo XIII, encyclical Immortale Dei, 1.11.1885
Incarnationis mysterium John Paul II, apostolic lett. Incarnationis mysterium, 29.11.1998
Lamentabili Holy Office, decree Lamentabili, 3.7.1907
Laborem exercens John Paul II, encyclical Laborem exercens, 14.9.1981
Laudate Deum Francis, apostolic exhort. Laudate Deum, 4.10.2023
Laudato si' Francis, encyclical Laudato si', 24.5.2015
Lumen gentium Second Vatican Council, dogm. const. Lumen gentium, 21.11.1964
Mater et magistra John XXIII, encyclical Mater et magistra, 15.5.1961
Mulieris dignitatem John Paul II, apostolic lett. Mulieris dignitatem, 15.8.1988
Nostra aetate Second Vatican Council, decl. Nostra aetate, 28.10.1965
Novo millennio ineunte John Paul II, apostolic lett. Novo millennio ineunte, 6.1.2001
Optatam totius Second Vatican Council, decr. Optatam totius, 28.10.1965
Pacem in terris John XXII, encyclical Pacem in terris, 11.4.1963
Pascendi Pius X, encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis, 8.9.1907
Populorum progressio Paul VI, encyclical Populorum progressio, 26.3.1967
Providentissimus Deus Leo XIII, encyclical Providentissimus Deus, 18.11.1893
Redemptor hominis John Paul II, encyclical Redemptor hominis, 4.3.1979
Salvifici doloris John Paul II, apostolic lett. Salvifici doloris, 11.2.1984
Samaritanus bonus CDF, instruction Samaritanus Bonus, 14.7.2020
Sollicitudo rei socialis John Paul II, encyclical Sollicitudo rei socialis, 30.12.1987
Spiritus Paraclitus Benedict XVI, encyclical Spiritus Paraclitus, 15.09.1920
Tertio millennio adveniente John Paul II, apostolic lett. Tertio millennio adveniente, 10.11.1994
Unitatis redintegratio Second Vatican Council, decree Unitatis redintegratio, 21.11.1964
Verbum Domini Benedictus XVI, apostolic exhort. Verbum Domini, 30.9.2010
Veritatis splendor John Paul II, encyclical Veritatis splendor, 6.8.1993