Philosopher of Science Stanley Jaki Passes Away

Seton Hall University reports:

Rev. Stanley L. Jaki, the world-renowned Hungarian-born author, physicist, philosopher and theologian died April 7 in Madrid, following a heart attack. Known as a leading thinker in areas at the boundary of theology and science, Jaki was awarded the Templeton Prize in 1987. He was cited for delineating “the importance of differences as well as similarities between science and religion, adding significant, balanced enlightenment to the field.”

Father Jaki belonged to the Benedictine religious order, having joined as a novice in 1942, professed his solemn vows in 1944 and been ordained a priest in 1948.

Jaki was a Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, 1974-75 and 1975-76, the prestigious, century-old academic appointment in the disciplines of philosophy and theology, which has included as past lecturers Hannah Arendt, John Dewey, William James and Albert Schweitzer.

He was deeply committed to the conjunction between faith and reason, arguing that the flourishing of science in Europe was intrinsically related to the Christian understanding of creation and the Incarnation.

“Although the world was God’s creation and, as such, to be profoundly respected, the world itself possessed no intrinsic divinity,” Rev. Thomas G. Guarino, professor of theology at Seton Hall, stated. “Father Jaki’s work elucidated the notion that in understanding the very laws of the physical universe, science naturally opened out toward the affirmation of faith.”

He published more than 40 books and hundreds of articles, chapters and essays over 50 years. He wrote widely on the history of science and religious questions, including a number of volumes on John Henry Newman. His books included The Relevance of Physics, Science and Creation, Chesterton: A Seer of Science, God and the Cosmologists and The Purpose of It All. His final book was Lectures in the Vatican Gardens.

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