Earth is imperiled. Human activities are adversely affecting the land, water, air, and myriad forms of biological life that comprise the ecosystems of our planet. Indicators of global warming and holes in the ozone layer inhibit functions vital to the biosphere. Environmental damage to the planet becomes damaging to human health and well-being now and into the future - and too often that damage affects those who are least able to protect themselves.Can religion make a positive contribution to preventing further destruction of biological diversity and ecosystems and threats to our earth? Jame Schaefer thinks that it can, and she examines the thought of Christian Church fathers and medieval theologians to reveal and retrieve insights that may speak to our current plight.
By reconstructing the teachings of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and other classic thinkers to reflect our current scientific understanding of the world, Schaefer shows how to 'green' the Catholic faith: to value the goodness of creation, to appreciate the beauty of creation, to respect creation's praise for God, to acknowledge the kinship of all creatures, to use creation with gratitude and restraint, and to live virtuously within the earth community.
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Jame Schaefer is associate professor of systematic theology at Marquette University, where she directs the interdisciplinary minor in environmental ethics. Prior to her career in academia, Schaefer served in environmental advocacy groups, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and government on local, state, and national levels.
Introduction: Reading the Catholic Theological Tradition through an Ecological Lens 1. Valuing the Goodness of Creation 2. Appreciating the Beauty of Creation 3. Reverencing the Sacramental Universe 4. Respecting Creation's Praise for God 5. Cooperating within the Integrity of Creation 6. Acknowledging Kinship and Practicing Companionship 7. Using Creation with Gratitude and Restraint 8. Living Virtuously within the Earth Community 9. Loving Earth 10. Modeling the Human in an Age of Ecological Degradation BibliographyIndex
[The] breadth and unique approach of Schaefer's book commend it as a worthwhile textbook, in particular as a useful introduction to the historical dimensions of environmental theology. For specialists in the field, it serves as an excellent reference for under-appreciated historical material. Religious Studies Review A new and vibrant and important addition ... Schaefer's book is engaging in its style, singularly useful as a compendium of Western Christian views on important environmental themes up to the late middle ages. Environmental Philosophy While many environmental ethicists have plumbed the Christian tradition for insight and inspiration, Schaefer is among the most comprehensive in theological themes, culled from an impressive range of patristic and medieval theologians. More than a mere anthology of texts and authors, the book is a creative and synthetic development of these classical thinkers and themes, appropriating and updating them to create a broad and fertile foundation for ecological ethics. Theological Studies
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