So Near and Yet So Far

Andrew Linzey

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

 So Near and Yet So Far

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What do we see when we look at nature? As Max Weber famously said: “All knowledge comes from a point of view.” What, then, are the points of view that make animal theology and ecological theology such, apparently, uncomfortable bedfellows? Of course, every reforming movement is notoriously hostile to those who see, but do not yet quite see what they have seen, and so it is with animal and ecological theologies. On paper, the agreements appear so considerable that many cannot quite see that there is an issue of difference at all. Perhaps the best way of seeing the difference is to see through the eyes of Annie Dillard, whose book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is widely regarded as a testimony to ecological wisdom. The enduring value of theology to thinking about animals and ecology consists in a recognition that God relativizes all our human perceptions. If we have not seen this then all our visions will be hopelessly partial. Theology promises a God-centered rather than a human-centered view of the world.

Keywords: Annie Dillard; nature; God; animal theology; ecological theology; animals; ecology

Article.  6689 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies

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