Department of Theology and Religious Studies

Pre and Post-Darwinian Perspectives on Islamic Theological Anthropology

Saturday 10th (09:30) - Sunday 11th June 2023 (16:30)


Since its inception, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has been surrounded by theological controversy; some religious traditions embrace the science while others reject it outright; still others represent a complex spectrum of intermediate positions.

Among the several areas of discussion taking place in this territory, the notions of (1) human uniqueness and (2) human nature have hardly received any consideration from Islamic perspectives (in contrast to the several publications by Christian thinkers in this area). The theory of evolution suggests that humans are continuous with the rest of the biological kingdom in time and space. Moreover, developments in human evolution have revealed that there were many other hominins prior to and, at one point, existing alongside Homo sapiens, the species which modern-day humans belong to. In light of these developments, this online conference is an invitation to develop Islamic perspectives on human uniqueness and nature both in a pre and post-Darwinian era. 

A link to register your attendance at the conference will be posted nearer to the date.

Call for Papers

Abstract deadline 31 March 2023

The following are some example questions: 

  • How did classical scholars (from whichever theological or philosophical tradition) perceive human uniqueness and/or nature?
  • What kind of rubrics (textual, theological, or philosophical) were or can be used to carve out characterisations of human uniqueness and/or nature?
  • How do biological categories or properties of hominins relate to or intersect with theological ones?
  • What does it mean for humans to be unique given our history with other hominins?
  • Do and Adam, Eve, and their early descendants have to be Homo sapiens?
  • Are language, cognition, the (immaterial) soul exclusive to Adam and his descendants? Could other hominins occupy such characteristics?


To help applicants with their submissions, the following resources might prove to be helpful:


  1. Kenneth W. Kemp. 2011. “Science, Theology, and Monogenesis.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, 85(2): 217-236.
  2. Cole-Turner, Ron. 2020. “New Perspectives on Human Origins: Three Challenges for Christian Theology.” Theology and Science, 18(4), 524-536.
  3. Joshua M. Moritz. 2011. “Evolution, the End of Human Uniqueness, and the Election of the Imago Dei.” Theology and Science, 9(3), 307-339.
  4. Joshua M. Moritz. 2015. “Does Jesus Save the Neanderthals? Theological Perspectives on the Evolutionary Origins and Boundaries of Human Nature.” Dialog: A Journal of Theology, 54(1): 51-60.
  5. Andreas May. 2022. “Since when have humans had a soul?” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies, 78(2).


  1. S. Joshua Swamidass. 2019. The Genealogical Adam and Eve: The Surprising Science of Universal Ancestry. Illinois: IVP Academic
  2. Marc Cortez. 2010. Theological Anthropology: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: T&T Clark.
  3. David Reich. 2018. Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past. New York: Vintage Books.
  4. Janet Radcliffe Richards. 2008. Human Nature After Darwin: A Philosophical Introduction. Abingdon: Routledge.
  5. Shoaib Ahmed Malik. 2021. Islam and Evolution: Al-Ghazālī and the Modern Evolutionary Paradigm. Abingdon: Routledge.

 Edited Volumes

  1. Daniel Pedersen, ed. 2017. Human Origins and the Image of God: Essays in Honor of J. Wentzel Van Huyssteen. Michigan: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
  2. Stanley P. Rosenberg, Michael Burdett, Michael Lloyd, Benno van den Toren, eds. 2018. Finding Ourselves after Darwin: Conversations on the Image of God, Original Sin, and the Problem of Evil. Michigan: Baker Academic

We welcome all sorts of proposals from a variety of disciplines, including Islamic exegesis, theology, philosophy, and history. Interfaith comparisons are also welcomed so long as comparison is done with Islamic ideas or approaches. Moreover, we encourage descriptive and normative approaches, provided that they are academically rigorous and based on mainstream published scholarship.

 For consideration of your proposal, please send a 300-word abstract in English to Jon Hoover at along with your full name, current affiliation, and job rank by the 31st of March 2023. Please use ‘NOTTINGHAM ANTHROPOLOGY’ in the subject line. The language of the conference will be English.

Select participants might be asked to send in full articles which will be published either in a special volume of a journal, or as a book chapter in a collected volume.

If you have any questions, please email Shoaib Ahmed Malik at

Department of Theology and Religious Studies

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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