Contents

Acknowledgments

Preface

1. Introduction: The Travail of Nature
The Contemporary Ecological Critique of Christian Theology
The Uncertain Voice of Contemporary Christian Theology
The Need for Historical Study
The Ambiguous Ecological Promise of Christian Theology

2. The Approach: Discerning the Roots of Classical Christian Thought About Nature
Aids for the Investigation: Metaphors and Motifs
The Experience of the Overwhelming Mountain: The Metaphors of Ascent and Fecundity
The Experience of the Promising Journey: The Metaphor of Migration to a Good Land
Disjunction and Conjunction: The Three Metaphors and the Formation of the Spiritual and Ecological Motifs

3. The Historical Beginnings: Irenaeus and Origen
The Challenge of Gnosticism: The Message of an Alien God and an Evil Earth
Irenaeus: The Dynamics of Creation History and the Affirmation of Nature
Origen's Cultural Environment: Alienation from Nature in an Age of Anxiety
Origen: The Dynamics of the Hierarchy of Being and the Degradation of Nature

4. The Flowering of the Promise: Augustine
Augustine's Development: Beyond the Legacy of the Manichees
Augustine's Mature Thought: Creation History and the Overflowing Goodness of God

5. The Heightening of the Ambiguity: The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century and the Theology of Thomas Aquinas
Alienation from Nature in the Early Middle Ages
The Rebirth of Nature in the Twelfth Century
The Conceptual Resolutions of Thomas Aquinas: The Subordination of Nature

6. The Ascendancy of the Ambiquity and an Embodiment of the Promise: Bonaventure, Dante, and Francis of Assisi
The Cosmic Visions of Bonaventure and Dante: Nature as a Ladder to Heaven
The Life and Significance of Francis of Assisi: The Embrace of Nature

7. The Liabilities of the Ambiguity: Reformation Theology and the Modern Secularization of Nature
Luther and Calvin: The Anthropocentric Dynamics of Grace and the Wonders of Nature
The Reformation Tradition and the Modern Secularization of Nature

8. The Triumph of Personalism: Karl Barth and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Karl Barth: The Humanity of God
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: A Personalistic Universe
Barth and Teilhard: The Unspoken Ecological Promise

9. Retrospect and Prospect: From Classical Christian Thought to the Bible
The Ambiguous Ecological Promise of Classical Christian Thought: The History of the Spiritual and Ecological Motifs
Toward a New Reading of the Biblical Theology of Nature: Beyond the Claims of the Spiritual Motif

10. A New Option in Biblical Interpretation: An Ecological Reading of Biblical Theology
Old Testament Themes: The Ecological Motif
New Testament Themes: The Ecological Motif
Ambiguity in the New Testament Witness: The Influence of the Spiritual Motif
A Question for Interpreters: The Travail of Nature at the End of All Things

Notes

Index

 

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