The academic treatment of the environment and nature, since the 1980s, has been formalized in sub-disciplines like environmental history, environmental philosophy, ecocriticism, and eco-spirituality. Within these disciplines the concept of nature has been variously employed to reorient humanity to a holistic moral standard. In each case there is general consensus that inquiry ought to turn on moral considerations of the interaction of humans and the environment; with implied admonitions to live sustainably. Lending credence to the Earth as a superorganism in its own right, these modern ecological expressions can be traced to Rachel Carson’s revelations in Silent Spring. However, they have a long pre-history which appears in monistic philosophy, the spirit of Deism, in both Romanticism and the Enlightenment, and in political expressions of the idea of Nature’s God, designed to promote a secular vision of the state and to overturn predatory religious rivalries. With this literary momentum, Natural Communions, volume 40 of Religion and Public Life, gathers interdisciplinary essays which reconfigure humanity within an ecotheological anthropology and which treat the idea of the sacred from the perspective of an Earth-centered spirituality, thus redefining humanity’s response to ecological challenges and initiating a new status within a more expansive cosmology complete with a naturalized conception of Divine Reality.
Table of Contents
Introduction [Gabriel R. Ricci]
1. The Five Ways of the Cosmos: Stoicism and Eco-Spirituality in the Perennial Tradition [Christopher S. Morrissey]
2. A Functional Cosmology for the Crisis of the Anthropocene [Caroline Smith]
3. Earth Medicine Man Makes This Place: A Prolegomenon to an Akimel O’odham Environmental Ethics [David Martínez] 4. Ecological Conversions in American Religious and Literary Culture [Brian Yothers]
5. Green Calvinism: Reformed Protestant Origins of Western Environmentalism [Mark Stoll]
6. The Symbolic Garden and the Spiritual Understanding of Nature in Byzantium [Kirsty Stewart]
7. Eco-Spirituality in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina [Anastassiya Adrianova]
8. A Sustainable City Upon a Hill? A Berryite Perspective on US Cultural Examples and American Innocence [Christopher Hrynkow]
9. Reinventing Humanity with an Eco-Spirituality Informed by a Cosmology of Cosmogenesis [Dennis O’Hara]
10. Big Miracle and Religious Naturalism: Rescuing Myriad Nature from Popular Fantasies of Nature Rescue [Carol Wayne White]
11. Faith, Nature, and Politics: Developing a Non-Reductive Naturalism [Whitney A. Bauman]
12. The Paradox of God in Nature [Martin O. Yalcin]
Gabriel R. Ricci is Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, where he teaches applied ethics and political philosophy in the Politics, Philosophy and Legal Studies Department. His research interests are in phenomenology and time consciousness; his latest work appears in The Reception of Husserlian Phenomenology in North America (Springer, 2019). He has been the editor of Religion and Public Life since 1999.