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328 BOOK REVIEWS but as a matrix of symbols which serves to re-contextualize one's experiences entirely" (135). Certainly. But without denying that Christian spirituality is not simply an inventory of the self (even the spiritual self!), and that it is inherently communal and generative of "concrete, historical meaning" (62)-thus Mcintosh's acknowledgment of the contributions of liberation and feminist theologies-might not we attend more to the pneumatological texture of Christian experience? In fact I believe that is where Mcintosh is directing us. Ifthere is a caveat here, it is simply that out of gratitude for his work we might also experience the Spirit anew where theology and spirituality blend together again. Marquette University Milwaukee, Wisconsin RALPH DEL COLLE The Virgin and the Dynamo: Use and Abuse of Religion in Environmental Debates. By ROBERTROYAL. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1999. Pp. xi + 271. $25.00 (paper). ISBN 0-8028-4468-5. When assessing this book it is important to bear in mind that Robert Royal is vice president for research and a senior fellow in religion and society at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., was assisted by George Weigel and Elliott Abrams in shaping its contents, and that a major part of the work derived from the author's delivering the Bradley lectures in 1997 at the American Enterprise Institute. As such it is less an integral whole than a series of essays edited with recurring themes. The author lays no claim to being a theologian. In the introduction he states "I am no theologian, and I do not think it would be wise to spend much time reading modern theology for enlightenment on environmental or other human problems" (9). Thus is the tone set for a wide ranging tour de force about the "use and abuse" of religion in environmental debates today. The book's title derives from Henry James's assertion that our age is torn between "the Virgin and the Dynamo." For James "the Virgin" is an image of the fullness of religious belief and human meaning as well as beauty and nature itself, representing a spirituality that James could no longer accept. James judged that "the Dynamo" was the efficient and powerful achievement of modern science and technology which had forever destroyed the plausibility of truths associated with the Virgin. The Dynamo had in effect become an alternative religion, unrecognized as such by most people, but dominant in its power and effects all the same. Royal uses this framework to characterize the BOOK REVIEWS 329 polarities evident in the stance of many authors on the role of religion and theology in environmental debates today. He rightly cautions that all too frequently some "environmentalists" assert a romantic opposition of nature to civilization. He asserts that his approach in this book does not fit easily in the usual dichotomy of environmentalism or developmentalism. This assertion rings true throughout the book's introduction (containing a most useful overview of the work) and seven chapters. More often than not Royal juxtaposes biblical insight with descriptions of evidences of today's ecological crises which concern, among other things, global warming, gas emissions, endangered species, wetland preservation, and the ozone layer. (These are summarized in the introduction and rather fully developed in the first part of chapter 3.) While affirming the command of Genesis that humans are to be stewards of creation Royal asserts that such an admonition "does not give us much concrete guidance" (2) in what to do about environmental crises today. True as far as it goes, this is the kind of assertion (which recurs throughout the book) by which Royal asserts that theology and religion ought to limit what is said and argued about what human stewards ought to do about the environment. Obviously those from a rich theological tradition such as Catholicism need to avoid any kind of "prooftexting" and fundamentalism of the biblical or any other sort. But is it not precisely the contribution of a living, teaching, theological tradition to face contemporary issues on the basis of the scriptural and magisterial tradition it represents? Royal often opts for the simplistic, dismissive comment and tone about theology and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 328-332
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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