Academic Societies

Excerpt from “Torrance’s Life and Achievement,” in Elmer Colyer, How to Read T. F. Torrance: Understanding His Trinitarian & Scientific Theology (Downer’s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2001); #2001-EC-1a. All rights reserved; used by permission of Elmer Colyer and InterVarsity Press.

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In 1969 Torrance became a member of the International Academy of Religious Sciences (Acadèmie Internationale des Sciences Religieuses) through Stanislav Dockx, a Dominican scientist and theologian, and Gerard Phillips of Leuven, a Belgian dogmatician who had written the final edition of the Lumen Gentium for Vatican II and who was president of the Academy at the time. Two years later when Phillips died, Torrance was elected president of the Academy and served in this position from 1972 to 1981. This further expanded Torrance’s contact with continental theologians through involvement in international seminars and discussions. 59

These connections led Torrance into the sister academy, the International Academy of the Philosophy of Sciences (Acadèmie Internationale de Philosphie des Sciences), in 1976. This is an organization primarily of scientists, mathematicians and physicists. Here Torrance became even more deeply immersed in international scientific work and in cross-disciplinary dialogue between theology and the natural sciences. 60 In fact, Torrance’s recognition from scientists is sometimes greater than from other theologians. He is one of the few theologians who have edited a scientific text: James Clerk Maxwell, A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field (#1982-399)61


58) See Hesselink, “Pilgrimage,” p. 61 (#1984-443). Back
59) Ibid., p. 59 (#1984-443). Though Torrance was unable to accept an invitation to the Second Vatican Council, he was involved in the summer interim with some of the theologians who did participate. Back
60) Ibid. (#1984-443). Torrance’s curriculum vitae lists his involvement in eleven different societies, centers and institutes. Back
61) James Clerk Maxwell, A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, ed. Thomas F. Torrance (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, #1982-399). Back