From Publishers Weekly
This collection of 24 prize-winning essays and sermons from the Templeton Foundation's 2001-2000 awards program includes some worthwhile material, although many of the selections read more like contest entries than real contributions to a science-and-religion dialogue. The diversity of sources is impressive, including traditions that are not commonly represented in books of this kind (e.g., Adventism, the Kabbalah, Jnani spiritual practice and Islamic theology in the tradition of Mullah Sadra). The best pieces are those that genuinely wrestle with specific situations or conceptual puzzles, finding some original insights. Unfortunately, these are outnumbered by unfocused compositions that attempt to survey the religious implications of scientific fields or centuries of intellectual history in a few pages, expecting readers or hearers to get the right idea from a medley of quotations, allusions and metaphors. Many of the authors draw from the same well of science-and-religion stock material, often without explaining what their terminology means or how their arguments work. This allusive style may frustrate readers who are new to this type of literature, and it raises occasional suspicions that a concept loosely used has been only loosely grasped. These difficulties are especially acute for entries that are single chapters excerpted from books, leaving behind much of the background and illustrations that fleshed out the arguments in the original a format presumably sufficient for awarding prizes, but hardly conducive to a satisfying reading experience. Although it boasts a few strong entries, this collection is no prize.
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