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The Splendor of Creation: A Biblical Ecology Paperback – July 13, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 145 pages
  • Publisher: Pilgrim Press; First Edition edition (July 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082981664X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0829816648
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
Her writing is inspired, poetic and spiritually uplifting.
J. Pearl
The Splendor of Creation is one of those charmingly rare books that can be read in one afternoon-then reread again and again.
E. L. Reynolds
This book will go a long way toward correcting that misperception.
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom VINE VOICE on November 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
For too long has the ecology movement blamed the Bible (and indirectly the Jews) for Western civilization's negative attitudes about "subduing" or "dominating" the earth. This book will go a long way toward correcting that misperception. Both Jews and Christians will be pleasantly surprised at what Judaism REALLY teaches regarding respect for God's creation.

Author Ellen Bernstein, founder of Shomrei Adamah ("Guardians of the Earth," a Jewish ecology org), did not start out as a "religious" Jew per se. As she explains in this book, she was an outdoors-type person who got involved in the secular ecology movement, then began exploring her Judaism through the back door, so to speak. There came a point when she realized that politics and activism were not enough. But the ecologists often ignored the religious dimension -- or were openly hostile to it. The movement lacked a connection to the God-as-Creator. Bridging religion and ecology became her personal quest. The result is this excellent little book with a very big message: That religion and science can be reconciled in the Book of Genesis.

Bernstein goes verse-by-verse through the first chapter of Genesis, focusing on each step of the Creation process. She quotes both the original Hebrew and a modern English translation, highlighting specific words in both texts. Then she weaves together material from traditional and contemporary Jewish commentaries, scientific research and nature observations, writers in the ecology movement, and her own personal experiences as an outdoorswoman. The result is a very readable yet profound midrash (Jewish commentary).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl I. Kollin on July 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend Ellen Burnstein's new book called, The Splendor of Creation. It is the biblical story of the seven days of creation as viewed from an environmental perspective. Ellen offers her own insight and personal experiences as well as those of other Jewish philosophers and naturalists. She makes the case for why religious communities have become more active in the environmental movement in recent years. Ellen writes, "The Bible and ecology both teach humility, modesty, kindness to all beings, a reverence for life, and concern for future generations." Ellen is the founder of the first Jewish environmental group, Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth. She writes in her new book, "If churches and synagogues could teach people to read the Bible with ecological eyes and see spirituality in ecological terms, then we'd have a built-in infrastructure for expanding environmental awareness and practice". Her book is an inspiration to me and an affirmation of the connections that I feel between my own faith and that of environmental stewardship.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Reynolds on November 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Splendor of Creation is one of those charmingly rare books that can be read in one afternoon-then reread again and again. Each fresh reading of Ellen Bernstein's book provides a novel soul-enriching experience. Bernstein examines Genesis I from a passionate perspective-relevant to her deep love for the environment. Her faith is evident in each paragraph. Revealing rabbinic interpretation and an enlightened translation of Judaic prose and poetry, the book educates and inspires readers of any religion. The reader is drawn into the eloquence of her ecology-and is returned to the modern world with renewed spirit. The Splendor of Creation includes sacred commentaries on sublime mysteries of the Kabbalah-and Jewish mystics of the seventeenth century. Following the example of R. Bahya ibn Pakuda, Bernstein writes about her own spiritual experience hoping to benefit others. As a scientist and a person of faith, Bernstein guides the reader on her intimate path towards deep ecology. Bernstein reveals order and pattern in the seven days of creation-as well as the mystery of creation. On the first day of creation, the universe is characterized by chaos and confusion-the catalyst for transformation is God. God's breath. Bernstein shows that spiritual interpretation of God's breath is compatible with current scientific theory of creation. When God said, "Let there be light," (1.3) an original light, brighter and more powerful than sunlight, came into being, according to ancient rabbinical text. Bernstein says this is the soul's light-as the midrash teaches that all souls are created on day one. It is the creative skill of "seeing with soul," that connects us to the earth and to God. "God saw that the light was good." (1.4) Pattern is revealed in the primary rhythm of darkness and light.Read more ›
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