17

For the Christian perspective, a general approach which is useful (these comments apply to any math course which is not merely "plug-and-chug"): mathematics is part of the general revelation of God: in particular, it does provide all cultures a sense of awe. Granted, this probably assumes a platonic viewpoint. A simple way to implement this in the course is ...


15

One can explore the spiritual motivations of a variety of mathematicians. Leonhard Euler was the son of a Protestant pastor and was presumably to go into the ministry when Johann Bernoulli intervened. Euler went on to write prolifically about math, science and Christianity (see Letters to a German Princess as an example.) Euler was an outspoken Christian. ...


11

This question seems like a big opportunity for casual social science conjecturing which may or may not be productive. I hope I can clarify a couple of things in my response. According to your supporting statement, your question is "what are the possible explanations for why so many mathematicians you look up on Wikipedia are Jewish?" For the purposes of ...


10

Mentioning other mathematician's motivations (as Ken W. Smith did in his answer) might be indeed a good starting point. I'd like to highlight one particular case where beliefs and mathematics come together. These are the first lines of the introduction of M. Aigner, G. Ziegler: "Proofs from THE BOOK", Springer, 1998 (3rd Ed. - the current one is the 4th, ...


10

For calculus, talk a lot about infinity. This is a topic which is tremendously theologically interesting- from Zeno's paradox (potential infinity) to Rabbi Hasdai Crescas (actual infinity) to Bolzano (a priest by profession, who proved in IVT and saw the necessity for completeness of the real numbers). The fact that there is more than one infinity is ...


7

My answer is just my educated guess and so it is probably flawed. But I think besides mathematicians, you could also include writers or other scientists, think Freud or Oppenheimer for example. Steven Gubkin in his comments already pointed the major points. I just wanted to add the practice of Judaism is centered on reading and studying the Torah but since ...


4

In addition to the above, you might mention that mathematics is the science of material-independent phenomena. On the simple end, three apples, cars, or orang-utans are all "three", but more fundamentally, the same equations describe for example, turbulence, in water, air, or solar plasma. More: Mathematics demonstrates emergent properties, where simple ...


3

Coming extremely late to this question. I certainly agree with historical approaches of various kinds as being appropriate in this context (presumably also in a "non-spiritually-uplifting context" if that were requested as well) and infinity is always fun. However, I notice that two issues of application have not been addressed by previous answers. ...


2

Math, when examined/shown properly, is a beautiful thing, worthy of being called a work of art or natural wonder depending on your stance on things. So it definitely can be spiritually uplifting if taught well. As to how to teach it like that (i.e. effectively, engagingly and enchantingly), well, if I knew that I'd be shouting it from the rooftops, not ...


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