Hava Tirosh-Samuelson

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178722
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology


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Judaism is the religious civilization of the Jewish people whose foundational document is the Bible. Throughout Jewish history, attitudes toward the natural world reflected both changing historical conditions of the Jews and foundation beliefs of the Jewish religious worldview, namely, that God, Yahweh, is the sole creator of the universe; that God created humans in his own image; that God revealed his will to Israel in the form of law, the Torah; and that God will redeem Israel and the world from the imperfection of the present. Precisely because nature is created, Judaism does not take nature to be inherently sacred or worthy of veneration. Instead, nature is viewed as imperfect, requiring human management and care: only human actions in accord with divine commands sanctify nature, making it holy. This article discusses Judaism and ecology, conceptions of nature in Jewish sources, environmental ethics in Jewish legal sources, modern Jewish reflections on nature, and Jewish environmentalism.

Keywords: Judaism; ecology; nature; environmental ethics; environmentalism; Bible; Yahweh; Israel

Article.  19115 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Judaism and Jewish Studies

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