Talking Dirty: Ground Is Not Foundation

Catherine Keller

in Ecospirit

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227457
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236626 | DOI:

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

Talking Dirty: Ground Is Not Foundation

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This chapter examines a crudely down-to-earth hypothesis: Ground is not foundation. The deconstruction of foundationalism has shaken up any imaginary terra firma—of Nature, Being, or God. Yet deconstruction, or constructivism, has also had the unintended side effect of undermining ecological thought in the transdisciplinary academy, including theology. Yet perhaps it need not. It may actually (and also unintentionally) support a more inviting way to ground our thinking in the earth: a way of nesting gratefully, rovingly, and carefully among the relative stabilities of the earth. Of course, those stabilities are stressing out: we find ourselves on terra infirma. But long before we began to strain those stabilities catastrophically, theology and its philosophies were fleeing the shifty surface of the earth, upward or downward, in search of firmer foundations—which turn out, paradoxically, to be abstract, immaterial grounds, unchanging reasons. So what if we now declare: let the earth itself be the ground; let every grounding metaphor acknowledge its place, its earth, and its planetary context. Let it disclose its clay feet. Such an elemental ground will even soil the Christian trinity.

Keywords: nature; ground; foundationalism; ecological theology

Chapter.  5288 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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