Human Uniqueness

: Twenty-First Century Perspectives from Theology, Science and Archaeology

  • Josephine Kiddle

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The theme that underlies the thesis is the challenge presented by science, as it developed from the time of the Enlightenment through the centuries until the present day, to Christian theology. The consequent conflict of ideas is traced in respect of biological science and the traditions of Protestant Christian doctrine, together with the advances of the developing discipline of prehistoric archaeology since the early nineteenth century. The common ground from which disagreement stemmed was the existence of human beings and the uniqueness of the human species as a group amongst all other creatures. With the conflict arising from this challenge, centring on the origin and history of human uniqueness, a rift became established between the disciplines which widened as they progressed through to the twentieth century. It is this separation that the thesis takes up and endeavours to analyse in the light of the influence of advancing science on the blending of philosophical scientific ideas with the elements of Christian faith of former centuries. A shift in outlook, sparked off by the presentation by certain theologian-scientists of the concept of healing this rift by way of dialogue, is pin-pointed as a move away from conflict and towards compatibility. The possibility of so doing is considered in depth and extended, by the thesis, to something more than forms of agreement and towards the achieving of integration between theology and science by way of the agency of human uniqueness. This endeavour, requiring a new approach to the conflicting issues, is presented by means of two studies, one scientific and one theological, considered separately but in parallel, of a human issue of relevance to each, in the twenty-first century – that of human individuality. With the outcome of this presentation being found to be agreement amounting to no more than compatibility, the thesis proceeds to find a means of furthering the way towards integration. Disciplines having a close association with the scientific view of the individual human being and the theological concept of human individuality, are brought into the inquiry – archaeology to assist science and philosophy to aid theology, the common ground being specified as the uniqueness of the human individual. A narrative style, maintained throughout, is based on 'key figures' whose work illuminates the issues discussed and is designed to emphasis the central role of the human individual. The thesis is presented as an original contribution to the science versus theology debate, by virtue of its centering not on conflicting issues but on those of common interest. To this end, the employment of associated disciplines, archaeology in particular, has opened up an approach not previously explored. In its conclusion, the thesis makes a claim for the means suggested for integrating science with theology through the concept of human uniqueness, to be recognised as plausible and worthy of being considered in other fields of confrontation between the two disciplines.
Date of Award8 Jul 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Winchester
SupervisorLiz Stuart (Supervisor) & Nick Thorpe (Supervisor)

Cite this

Human Uniqueness: Twenty-First Century Perspectives from Theology, Science and Archaeology
Kiddle, J. (Author). 8 Jul 2013

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis