Placing Nature on the Borders of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics

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  • Edited by Forrest Clingerman, Ohio Northern University; Mark H. Dixon, Ohio Northern University, USA
  • Series: Transcending Boundaries in Philosophy and Theology
  • The natural world has been "humanized": even areas thought to be wilderness bear the marks of human impact. But this human impact is not simply physical. At the emergence of the environmental movement, the focus was on human effects on "nature." More recently, however, the complexity of the term "nature" has led to fruitful debates and the recognition of how human individuals and cultures interpret their environments.

    This book furthers the dialogue on religion, ethics, and the environment by exploring three interrelated concepts: to recreate, to replace, and to restore. Through interdisciplinary dialogue the authors illuminate certain unique dimensions at the crossroads between finding value, creating value, and reflecting on one's place in the world. Each of these terms has diverse religious, ethical, and scientific connotations. Each converges on the ways in which humans both think about and act upon their surroundings. And each radically questions the damaging conceptual divisions between nature and culture, human and environment, and scientific explanation and religious/ethical understanding. This book self-consciously reflects on the intersections of environmental philosophy, environmental theology, and religion and ecology, stressing the importance of how place interprets us and how we interpret place. In addition to its contribution to environmental philosophy, this work is a unique volume in its serious engagement with theology and religious studies on the issues of ecological restoration and the meaning of place.

  • Contents: Preface; On the spiritual understanding of nature, Páll Skúlason; Part 1 Restoring Place and Meaning: Introduction, Mark H. Dixon; Restoration in space and place, William R. Jordan III; Shame, ritual and beauty: technologies of encountering the other – past, present and future, Todd LeVasseur; Recreating [in] Eden: ethical issues in restoration in wilderness, Daniel T. Spencer; Re-creation: phenomenology and guerrilla gardening, Mélanie Walton; Eschatology of environmental bliss in Romans 8:18–22 and the imperative of present environmental sustainability from a Nigerian perspective, Sampson M. Nwaomah; Resurrecting spirit: Dresden's Frauenkirche and the Bamiyan Buddhas, James Janowski; Chanting the birds home: restoring the spirit, restoring the land, A. James Wohlpart. Part 2 Recreating Place, Reconnecting with Others: Introduction, Forrest Clingerman; Reading ourselves through the land: landscape hermeneutics and ethics of place, Martin Drenthen; Who am I, who are these people, and what is this place? A hermeneutic account of the self, others, and environments, David Utsler; Concern for creation: a religious response to ecological conservation, David C. McDuffie; Recreate, relate, decenter: environmental ethics and domestic animals, Anna L. Peterson; Replacing animal rights and liberation theories, Jonathan Parker; Re-placing the doctrine of the Trinity: horizons, violence, and postmodern Christian thought, Sarah Morice-Brubaker; In the beginning and in the end, H. Peter Steeves; Index.
  • About the Editor: Forrest Clingerman is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Ohio Northern University. He has published a number of essays and journal articles on environmental theology and hermeneutics. He has also held leadership positions in the AAR Religion and Animals Consultation, the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment.
    Mark H. Dixon is an Associate Professor of Philosophy. His primary research interests are in environmental philosophy and environmental ethics. He has published articles in environmental ethics and in the philosophy of architecture.
  • Reviews: 'Rediscovering place at the convergence of philosophy and theology, the authors in this timely collection gift the reader with fresh insights into dwelling responsibly on the earth. Placing Nature on the Borders weaves case studies and hermeneutical investigations into a richly interdisciplinary inquiry into the values that bind our identities to our embodied inhabitation. Addressing the ethics of restoration in natural and built places, our obligations to wild and domestic animals, and the spiritual dimensions of our everyday environments, these essays demonstrate the mutual dependency between where we are and who we are, challenging us to acknowledge the meanings and obligations that emerge at that convergence - and to relocate our humanity in a broader vision of our shared world.
    Ted Toadvine, University of Oregon, USA

    'The essays in this volume are thoughtful and critical. They are also diverse - both in style, and in the approach and content that the various authors bring in as being relevant to the examination of place… In short, Placing Nature on the Borders of Religion, Philosophy and Ethics is a rich, well-organized volume that should be read by anyone interested in the topic of “place” in environmental thought.' Environmental Philosophy

    '[This book] ticks all the right boxes. It brings together subjects which are diminished if considered in isolation. Furthermore, the Editors share with Scruton and ecologists generally the importance of place… The volume] deal[s] with important topics.' Science & Christian Belief