Living with Other Creatures
Green Exegesis and Theology
Publication Year: 2011
The Bible and Christian tradition have, at best, offered an ambiguous word in response to Earth's environmental difficulties. At worst, a complex, often one-sided history of interpretation has left the Bible's voice silent. Aiming to bridge these gaps, Richard Bauckham mines scripture and theology, discovering a firm command for Christians to care for all of God's creation and then discusses the generations of theologians who have sought to live out this biblical mandate. Going beyond Old Testament human dominion, Living with Other Creatures consults scripture in its entirety and includes Jesus' perspectives on creation, novel approaches to reading the gospels, and some of the most well known"ecologists"throughout Christian history. The result is an innovative and enriching treatise that reminds readers of God's whole creation—and humanity's place within it.
Published by: Baylor University Press
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Table of Contents
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When I look back, I realise that from an early age it has always seemed obvious to me that the meaning Christian faith finds in this world encompasses not only human life but also the non-human creation and that God the Creator delights in and cares for all his creatures. So it was no doubt natural that, as my awareness grew of the multiple...
1. The Human Place in Creation – a Biblical Overview
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George Monbiot, an influential British writer on environmental matters, recently wrote that ‘we inhabit the brief historical interlude between ecological constraint and ecological catastrophe’.1 He meant that for most of human history (including the periods in which the Bible was written) humans lived within considerable restraints imposed on human life by their natural environment. Humans made...
2. Dominion Interpreted – a Historical Account
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In a hugely influential passage of Scripture, Genesis 1:28 speaks of a ‘dominion’ (the most usual English translation) over other living creatures given by God to humans at their creation. In Genesis itself, it is clear that humans, while given a special status and responsibility for other creatures, are themselves creatures alongside their fellow-creatures. Their ‘dominion’ is within the created order, not, like God’s, transcendent above it. Distinguished from their fellow-creatures in...
3. Reading the Synoptic Gospels Ecologically
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Few of those who have written about the ecological dimension of the Bible have found much to say about the Synoptic Gospels.1 It may be that, as Robert Murray comments, Jesus’ relationship to the non-human creation is not ‘a salient theme in the gospels’,2 but, alternatively, it may be that, especially when the Gospels are read with their relation to the Old Testament in view, there are significant references to the non-human creation that have not been given the attention they...
4. Jesus and Animals
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A cursory reading of the Gospels might well leave the impression that there is very little to be said about Jesus and animals. This unturned in its detailed study of Jesus and the Gospels, has given virtually no attention to this subject. However, this chapter will show that there is in fact a good deal to be learned from the Gospels...
5. Jesus and the Wild Animals in the Wilderness (Mark 1:13)
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Modern New Testament scholarship is historically situated. It inevitably approaches the texts with concerns that derive from its cultural context, both Christian and secular. Such concerns can be heuristically useful, but they can also limit and distort our perceptions of the texts. In the present context of ecological crisis, in which it has become urgently necessary that Christian thinking recover a sense of human...
6. Reading the Sermon on the Mount in an Age of Ecological Catastrophe
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From one point of view, at least, the ecological catastrophe we are living through is a matter of limits and excess: on the one hand, the limits of the earth’s resources and the limits to which humans can tamper with the earth’s ecosystem with impunity, and, on the other hand, the excess of consumption and expansion that has come to define the project of modern western, but increasingly globalized, civilization. George Monbiot recently wrote that ‘we inhabit the brief...
7. Joining Creation’s Praise of God
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The words in Daniel that Benno recalled are from two verses of the Benedicite, familiar to all medieval clergy and religious from its frequent liturgical use. It is the canticle that begins...
8. Creation’s Praise of God in the Book of Revelation
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That all creation worships God is a biblical theme that has not been given the attention it deserves, at least in the modern period, and despite the burgeoning interest in ecological aspects of the Bible.1 But it has a distinctive significance for delineating a biblical perspective on the non-human creation.2To recognize that all creatures praise God is to enter an appreciative vision of creation in which a purely...
9. Creation Mysticism in Matthew Fox and Francis of Assisi
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In this chapter we shall study and compare two examples of ‘creation mysticism’ in the Christian tradition. The work of Matthew Fox pro- vides probably the best-known contemporary example, while Francis of Assisi is without doubt the greatest nature mystic in the Christian tradition, and some would say the first.1 I shall argue that Francis’s form of creation mysticism is a more authentically Christian form than that of Fox, who moves away from elements central both to the...
10. Biodiversity – a Biblical-Theological Perspective
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In a recent book Heather Rogers describes a scene in Indonesia (now the world’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, after China and the USA)...
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Index of Authors
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Index of Ancient and Medieval Persons
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Details of Previous Publication
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Page Count: 270
Publication Year: 2011