Pamela Klassen

in The Oxford Handbook of the Study of Religion

Published in print November 2016 | ISBN: 9780198729570
Published online June 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191796449 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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‘Nature,’ as cultural historian Raymond Williams asserted, is one of the most complex words in the English language. Just as its meanings have varied considerably over time, relations between religion belief/practice and the natural world have varied historically, geographically, and across multiple cultural contexts. ‘Nature’ and ‘religion’ have been co-articulated in different ways, and different interests and issues have been at stake in these changing constructions. Tropes of nature and the natural occur across a range of contexts: in Western study of non-Western religions, distinctions between ‘transcendent’ and ‘immanent’ cosmologies, and scholarly discourses of ‘religion and ecology,’ ‘nature religion,’ and debates over the ‘Lynn White thesis’; and in a series of popular religio-environmental developments including concepts and practices of Creation Care, eco-kosher livelihoods, sacred groves, the Green Pilgrims Cities network, the Earth Charter, and eco-paganism.

Keywords: religion and ecology; nature religion; religious environmentalism; Creation Care; green pilgrimage

Article.  6221 words. 

Subjects: Religion and Science

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