Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Engaging Science and Religion: Finding Common Ground

UM LEVEL H - Higher Level



DEPARTMENT Centre for the Liberal Arts and Sciences

DESCRIPTION The human quest for truth under the banners of science and religion has a long history. For centuries, science evolved alongside religion as a branch of philosophy without apparent conflicts. It was more recently that science and religion began to be portrayed as somewhat opposites. In the contemporary world, religious and scientific quests for truth are more clearly delineated with their interaction being mostly reserved to heated debates which are at times more for entertainment purposes. However, due to its fast-paced development, science is exploring areas and raising ethical issues which have up till a few centuries ago strictly religious domains.

The Unit attempts to provide a unique view of the human quest for truth by first presenting the historical context of religion and science, and delve into the two subjects through seminars with the aim of giving students concrete experiences of science (and mathematics) and religion (and spirituality). Following the seminars, students will be exposed to areas where science and religion are being engaged in, particularly ethics and politics.

As part of the assessment, students will be required to perform basic exercises in science and theology, and reflect on a topic which brings together science and religion through an essay. Lectures will be interactive and include discussions, particularly towards the end, where a discussion panel will be organised during one of the sessions. Finally, students will get to present their work to their peers, reflecting in particular on their experience of the Unit.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:
• Describe the scientific method;
• Frame in a historical context the debate between science and religion;
• Outline the significant discoveries in the search for truth through mathematics;
• Delineate the religious phenomenon and the spiritual method.

2. Skills:

By the end of the Unit the student will be able to:
• Perform basic scientific and/or mathematical exercises such as completing a proof and conducting an experiment;
• Distinguish the religious from the spiritual;
• Debate religion and science in an objective manner;
• Discuss the roles of science and religion in ethics and politics;
• Come up with, and present constructive ways of integrating differing points of view.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

• Clayton, Philip, The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science, Oxford Handbooks, 2008.
• Dixon, Thomas, Science and Religion: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2008.
• Religion and Science, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2017, Online:

Supplementary readings:

• Farrow, Douglas, Desiring a Better Country: Forays in Political Theology, Mc-Gill Queens University Press, 2015.
• Frankl, Viktor E., Homo patiens. Soffrire con dignità, edited by Eugenio Fizzotti, Biblioteca di cultura 17, Brescia, Queriniana, 2001.
• Frankl, Viktor E., Suffering Humanity. Anthropological Foundations of Psychotherapy, Toronto, 2005.
• Frankl, Viktor E., Uno psicologo nel lager (Anime & Psiche 4), Milan: Edizioni Ares, 2003.
• Frankl, Viktor E., Man’s Search for Meaning, New York: WSP, 1984.
• Bernard, Charles André, Theologie symbolique, Paris: Téqui, 1978.
• Bernard, Charles André, Teologia affettiva, Milano: San Paolo, 1985.
• Bernard, Charles André, Teologia spirituale, Milano: San Paolo, 2002.
• Godin, André, The Psychological Dynamics of Religious Experience, Birmingham/ab: Religious Education Press, 1985.
• González, Luis Jorge, Terapia spirituale. Guarigione umana e spirituale delle malattie dell’anima, Vatican City, LEV, 2000.
• Hannam, James, God’s Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science, Icon, 2010.
• Larchet, Jean-Claude, L’inconscio spirituale. Malattie psichiche e malattie spirituali, Milano: Edizioni San Paolo, 2006.
• Haynes et. al., The Sacred and the Sovereign, e-International Relations, 2011.
• Laudazi, C., L’uomo in via di trasformazione, in AAVV, La Teologia Spirituale, Roma: OCD/Teresianum, 2001, 713-734.
• Lonergan, Bernard, Method in Theology, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971.
• Perreault, A.M., Maturità, in Dizionario enciclopedico di spiritualità, edited by Ermanno Ancilli, Roma: Edizioni Studium, 1975,1168-1169.
• Ratzinger, Joseph & Pera, Macello, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, Basic Books, 2004.
• Ratzinger, Joseph, Values in a time of upheaval, Ignatius Press, 2004.
• Rossi, Paolo, The Birth of Modern Science, Wiley-Blackwell, 2001.
• Sipser, Michael, Introduction to the Theory of Computation, Thomson, 2006.
• Waaijman, Kees, Spirituality: Forms, Foundations, Methods, Studies in Spirituality Suppliment 8, Leuven: Peeters, 2002.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Presentation (15 Minutes) No 20%
Essay Yes 40%
Project No 40%

LECTURER/S Charlo Camilleri
Christian Colombo (Co-ord.)
Jean-Paul De Lucca
Andre Paul Debattista
Nadia Delicata
Jean Paul Ebejer
Mark Sultana


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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.