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Reading Group in the Social Sciences for Postgraduate Theologians

Reading group in the social sciences for postgraduate theologians.


We shall meet on alternate Wednesdays during full term: on 10 and 24 October and then on 7 and 21 November 2018, from 4:00 – 5:30 in Room 7 in the Faculty of Divinity.


This term, I propose we read a series of texts from the 1920s and early 1930s concerning the implications of the developing sciences and their prospective influence on the future of human society. They are the following:

  1. J.B.S. Haldane, Daedalus, or Science and the Future, (a paper read to the Heretics in Cambridge, 1923), published 1924, K.R. Dronamraju, Haldane’s Daedalus Revisited, Oxford U.P., 1995: 23-50.
  2. Bertrand Russell, Icarus, or the Future of Science, published 1924, Spokesman Books, 2005 (64pp.).
  3. J.D. Bernal, The World, the Flesh and the Devil. An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul, published in 1929, Verso, 2017 (81pp.).
  4. Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, published in 1932, Vintage, 2007 (229pp.).


This is a remarkable sequence of short texts, each frequently reprinted, culminating in an early science fiction classic. It has a distinctively Cambridge flavour, and should allow us to develop a historical perspective on questions of Science and Technology.


Please come to the first session having read the Haldane piece; enthusiasts might also want to look at Haldane’s collection of essays, Possible Worlds, first published in 1927.


This reading group is intended primarily for postgraduates who wish to explore the possibility of using social science methods in their research or who have a broad interest in the topic. The group is also open to any interested post-doctoral researcher or senior member of the Faculty. Members of other Faculties are welcome, but should contact one of us first.


Timothy Jenkins (


Giles Waller (





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