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Rereading the Apostle in a Time of Ecological Crisis
A remarkable, wide-ranging attempt to read the Pauline literature from an ecological perspective, Greening Paul, the first book of its kind, traverses carefully between extremes claiming to present Paul’s narrative world and simply subjugating the Bible to a contemporary set of ethical values. Skillfully the authors craft their reading of Paul according to the cutting-edge insights of narrative criticism and tackle burning questions which assail Christians in the present ecological crisis: Does the biblical tradition inculcate an anthropocentric worldview that gives humanity license to exploit the earth for our benefit? Does biblical eschatology imply that the earth is of only passing significance for the elect? Greening Paul is a timely and adroit re-reading of the apostle Paul that provides a potentially very fruitful ecological vision, all the while staying true to the biblical text.
"Greening Paul is an important and welcome contribution to the development of theology in our ecological era. Broad in its research and clear in its methods, this book reads Pauline scriptures carefully and creatively, and offers a model of how to read scripture in conversation with theology and science. It will be a useful resource for scholars, students, and church study groups."
—Willis Jenkins, Margaret Farley Assistant Professor of Social Ethics, Yale University
"If Paul wrote to address problems in his own communities in the first century, what can his letters possibly offer about the environmental crisis that faces us today? The authors of Greening Paul argue convincingly that Paul’s notions of participation in Christ and reconciliation are cosmic categories and that God’s saving purposes include the whole universe and not just human beings. They construct a valuable hermeneutical lens through which they read the Pauline letters and shape a ecotheology and ecoethics. Essentially carving out a new theological field, their ecological analysis is insightful and their exegetical conclusions sound--a work well worth engaging."
—Tatha Wiley, Author of Paul and the Gentile Women: Reframing Galatians and Encountering Paul: Understanding the Man and His Message
“This admirable study demonstrates that carefully-ground ‘hermeneutical lenses’ can focus and clarify one’s perception of the implicit eco-theology and ethics in the Pauline letters.”
—Victor Paul Furnish, University Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, of New Testament, Southern Methodist University
“This well-written and carefully argued collaborative investigation is a must-read for environmental ethicists, biblical scholars, theologians, church practitioners, and their students.”
—H. Paul Santmire, author of Nature Reborn (2000) and Ritualizing Nature (2008)
David G. Horrell is Professor of New Testament Studies and Director of the Centre for Biblical Studies at the University of Exeter, U.K.
Cherryl Hunt is an Associate Research Fellow of the University of Exeter, U.K.
Christopher Southgate is a Research Fellow of the University of Exeter, U.K., and Dean of Studies of the South West Ministry Training Course.