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The Paradise of God: Renewing Religion in an Ecological Age Hardcover – September 11, 2003

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Editorial Reviews


"A highly readable book illustrating the best in interdisciplinary work. As such, The Paradise of God would be a fruitful study for any scholar in religious studies whose work has an environmental angle, but especially for environmentally oriented scholars in Christian theology, biblical studies, and theological ethics.--Journal of Religion

"This delightful, sophisticated book can speak to both religious and secular hearts, touching a broad audience with imagination and power."--Environmental Ethics

"This accessible, sophisticated essay in quest of theological understanding should command widespread attention."--Christian Century

"In this thoughtful and interdisciplinary work, Norman Wirzba combines scholarly insight with moral and religious conviction to make several significant contributions to the field of ecological theology."--The Journal of Religion

"The Paradise of God is a marvelous book. If you wonder how we have gotten ourselves into our ecological mess, read this book. If you wonder how Christian faith might provide healing, read this book. If you wonder what practically we can and must do, read this book. In short, all should read this book."--The Cresset

"Coherently and thoughtfully written, this book about Christian environmental ethics and theology shows a good grasp of the biological sciences and Christian theology. the book makes an important contribution to current Western reflection on these issues."-- Choice

"We are surrounded and sustained in creation by God's unfathomable gifts and kindness on every side, and our only proper response is our own attention, care, and gratitude! With joy and wonderful spirit Wirzba deepens our understanding of this great love of God for the world, and invites us to find our own joy in the joy of the whole creation. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who desires to live rightly and joyfully in God's creation." --Calvin B. DeWitt, author of Earth-Wise: A Biblical Response to Environmental Issues

"An impressive achievement. The deft grace with which Wirzba integrates cultural criticism, environmentalism, and theological insight is original and invigorating. The approach of this important book is to plumb the depths of our culture's formative biblical and ecological writings in order to craft a new vision of a religiously satisfying and environmentally sustainable way of life. Robustly earth-centered, The Paradise of God offers a vision of intimacy between God and nature that should enable our continued earth-healing and care for all creation." --Mark I. Wallace, author of Fragments of the Spirit: Nature, Violence, and the Renewal of Creation

"One of the reasons this is such an important book is that it recovers voices from the Bible about our human vocation that have been too long overlooked. By listening to these voices carefully, and by comparing them to recent ecological wisdom, Norman Wirzba revises our most basic presuppositions about our position in the world. He shifts our self understanding from steward to servant, arguing that such an understanding--both ancient and modern, both scientific and scriptural--is the only path to a healthy society in a healthy creation." --Theodore Hiebert, author of The Yahwist's Landscape: Nature and Religion in Early Israel

"This is an important and original book that will surely help us rethink how religious and ecological thought can be placed in a more fruitful dialogue. To integrate insight from agrarian and Christian theological perspectives into a single coherent vision of religious-ecological responsibility is a brave and imaginative achievement." --Douglas Burton-Christie, author of The Word in the Desert: Scripture and the Quest for Holiness in Early Christian Monasticism

About the Author

Norman Wirzba is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Georgetown College in Kentucky. He is the editor of The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry (2002) and The Essential Agrarian Reader: The Future of Culture, Community, and the Land.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 11, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195157168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195157161
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,778,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raised on a farm in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies, I am now a Professor of Theology and Ecology at Duke University. I write and make public presentations on a wide variety of topics ranging from environmental philosophy and ethics to food studies and sustainable agriculture from a theological point of view. I hope to show that Christian faith is a lot more interesting and compelling than people might think.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Rhodes on September 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It broke my heart to see that this book hadn't been reviewed yet. This work is intelligently written and (like much environmental thought) touches so many ideas, that no matter your discipline you will be able to connect with and respond to what Wirzba espouses.

Mr. Wirzba has written a book which should prove a milestone in the fields of agrarian thought and Christian environmentalism. The scope of the book ranges from theology to gardens, from the meaning of a Sabbath to the Christlikeness of soil. Throughout it is peppered with widely-discussed environmental ideas (sense of place, sublimity of nature, etc.). Often, I found myself being blown away (in a good way) by the distinctly postmodern ideas in Mr. Wirzba's Christo-agrarian ethic. In the end, it is an ethic that is sensible, authentic, godly, and merits closer inspection.

To the Christian, I reccommend this book as a means of (re)considering many parts of your faith. Whether gaining a more acute insight of the pervasiveness of God's providence, better retaining the doctrine of Creation, or reigniting meaningful Sabbaths, this book nourishes oft-starved doctrines without offending (mainstream American) evangelical theology. For what it's worth, I'm a pentecostal raised in the church, and I know God's Word fairly well. After reading this book, I could not find one doctrine Mr. Wirzba trespasses at any point. This book is safe for our theology, but *will* challenge how we live.

To the agrarian or environmentalist, this book provides an avenue of how to better appeal your ideas to Christians. If mainstream white-bread Protestants are the demographic American environmentalists are most wanting change in, then this is wonderful ammunition for igniting such change.
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