Land Ethic According to the Biblical Book of Genesis and Isaiah
Keywords:Environmental Land ethics, Bible, Genesis, Isaiah
In a paper titled “The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis,” Lyn White castigates the Judaeo-Christian religious beliefs for their contribution to the emerging environmental crisis. White construes the creation account in Genesis to mean that nature is created exclusively for man’s benefit, and that nature has no intrinsic worth and value. He concludes that Christianity is the most anthropocentric religion in the world, which provides the impetus to modern science and technology. This paper as a reaction to Lyn White is an attempt at exploring a striking coincidence of views between the book of Genesis and Prophets Isaiah’s religious-moral ecology and secular social ecology. The focus of this study is the way the two books’ writers imagine and portray the world of nature and its relationship to the prevailing social and political conditions. The critical position adopted for this study is that of social ecology, which lays particular stress on the impact of social and political conditions on the environment. The narrativization of events is studied along with their figurative constructions as pastoral, wilderness, and apocalyptic tropes for their ecological import in the anthropocentric world of thought. This research shows that both the book of Genesis and prophet Isaiah’s land ideology plays a crucial role in the theological construction of the Man-Nature relationship. Specifically, Isaiah appeals to his audiences’ inherited lore of the land as a legacy that has deep roots in the ancestral and primeval history. The present study is also an attempt at bringing the focus back to the point of human agency and its responsibility for the environment.
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