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Judaism and Evolution Do Not Clash, Conference of American Rabbis Told

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

That Judaism does not clash with evolution and science was the assertion made by Prof. Harry A. Wolfson in his address on “Judaism in Relation to Philosophy and Science” before the convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis here. Dr. Wolfson occupies the Littauer Chair of Jewish Literature and Philosophy at Harvard University.

Judaism from its very beginning was based upon two principles, Prof. Wolfson declared. First, the Bible as the inspired work of God; second, the freedom of interpretation of the text of the Bible in accordance with the changes in scientific and ethical views. The Bible in its legal part was never taken by Judaism literally, he stated.

From the earliest time, Judism adapts the legislation of the Bible to the altered conditions of the time, and similarly in its religious views, Judaism interpreted the Bible in accordance with the scientific ideas of the times, Prof. Wolfson stated.

This free interpretation of the Bible started long before the Christian era and has continued uninter ruptedly through the ages. One of the problems that confronted Judaism at the very earliest time was its nature and relation to the universe and the origin of the universe. and with the scientific ideas contributed through the teachings of the Greek philosophers and scientists. This problem is similar to that with which modern man is confronted, he declared.

The Conference considered the problem of religious education and heard the report of Rabbi David Phillipson.

This report, like that of the Committee on Church and State, which was presented by Rabbi Edward N. Calisch, of Richmond, Va., stressed the need of religious education outside of the schoolhouse, without, however, in any way joining the public school with the religious institutions.

“The American principle of separation of church and state,” said Rabbi Phillipson, “is too basic and sacred for us to countenance any attempt to violate it. The essential problem, therefore, is to find time during the week for additional hours for religious instruction and at the same time not to weaken this underlying principle of American freedom.”

Rabbi Louis L. Mann of Sinai Congregation, Chicago, Chairman of the Religious Education Committee for the Conference, pointed out that the function of his committee is to keep the members of the Conference informed as to the latest method in pedagogy and showed how far and in what way it could be utilized in Jewish religious schools, first, in the teaching of Jewish history; second, in forms and ceremonies: second, in forms and ceremonies; third, in presenting Biblical material.

Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner of Cleveland, Dr. E. Gamaron, of Cincinnati, and Rabbi Joseph L. Baron, of Davenport, Iowa, assisted in the presentation of the work of the committee.

Dr. Mann also arranged an exhibit of the best text books dealing with the project method in education.

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