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A Theology of the Built Environment: Justice, Empowerment, Redemption

4 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521891448
ISBN-10: 0521891442
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book is not only important to theologians but to other professionals as well." Religious Studies Review

"Gorringe is to be congratulated for assimilating such a diverse set of resources and maintaining what is, overall, a theoretically coherent and theologically compelling thesis. This book serves as an exemplary model of interdisciplinary practical theory.... I hope this book receives serious consideration not only from theologians but geographers, urban planners, environmentalists, economists, and policymakers, in order that dialogue about an issue of common concern can be carried forward." Theology Today

"Gorringe's well-researched work has brought to our attention an issue that we should address with demanding urgency, determination, and prophetic vision. His work shows the interdisciplinary nature of theology...This book is not only important to theologians but to other professionals as well." Religious Studies Review

"[Gorringe] calls the church to an urgent educational task." Choice

"Continuing in his tradition of historically rich, contextually superb and prophetically motivated scholarship, Timothy Gorringe offers a thorough work that brings the church's discourse into provocative juxtaposition with the old, yet pressing, issue of the built environment.... The individual chapters can be read as essays on their own, and the indices make A Theology of the Built Environment an excellent reference source.... Gorringe leaves the reader with a vision of a struggle grounded in theological values and an ultimate hope in a future built environment that is just. Consequently, this book should be read as part of that process of pedagogy that encourages us all to be prophets and to work toward a more just and empowering built environment." Research News and Opportunities in Science and Theology

Book Description

Tim Gorringe's is the first book to reflect theologically on the built environment as a whole. After considering the divine grounding of constructed space, Professor Gorringe looks at the ownership of land, the issues of housing, town and country, and the city, and then considers the built environment in terms of community and art. The book concludes with two chapters that set the whole within the framework of the environmental crisis and asks what directions the Churc h should be looking for in building for the future.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521891442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521891448
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Goringe argues that theology ought to be concerned about space, architecture, design, public policy, ecological sustainability and city planning, because all of life expresses our theology and even buildings "make moral statements"(1).

Gorringe starts his argument by basically saying that we build our environment and then our environment builds us, thus we ought to care about how we build our environment. He proposes a Trinitarian mapping of spatiality. God the Holy Spirit, the Redeemer, is "the author and inspirer of all those visions of a better human environment" (48) and God the Father is the Creator who "brings order out of chaos, the structuring of space by form" (48) and God the Son, the Reconciler "takes flesh in order to teach peace to the nations and make justice concrete (49). Gorringe then takes this mapping of spatiality and makes it concrete, by looking at land as a gift that ought to be stewarded for the whole rather than absolutely possessed by the individual. When talking about housing, he proposes environmentally sustainability as a key feature for future building as well as beauty in diversity. He continues to apply this Trinitarian mapping to the town and country, the city, and the built environment in terms of community and art. He concludes with how to proceed in the future with the environmental crises that is upon us.

Having lived in the suburbs and a college town for most of my life and the city for the last six years of my life, I can really appreciate Gorringe's thesis that we make our space and then our space makes us, so we ought to care about how we make our space. The more I live, the more that I sense the ethos of a place by simply walking around and feeling and sensing what is all around me.
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Format: Paperback
I disagree with the previous reviewer. This is a theological text about the built environment. As such, it describes a Christian way of approaching the built environment, and asserts that within this theological ethic, a trinitarian ethic must be applied. It does not say that only Christians can contribute to the built environment, but its audience is clearly Christians who want to do so. In that regard, this book fills a gap in theological writings - it carefully considers the impact of our environment and forms a theology about it. Sometimes the reading can get dense, but it is explained clearly and the author makes several good points. It's a thought-provoking and captivating work.
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Gorringe delves into the theology and ethics of urban design with an emphasis on redemption and social justice. These are certainly significant issues. Built Environment is rooted firmly in a liberal Protestant tradition, and at times I found myself wishing that Gorringe would take Eliade more seriously or consider the human capacity to set space aside as sacred (that is, our ability to say yest to God's redemptive work). This work certainly makes for a decent companion to Eliade and Richard Kieckhefer's Theology in Stone.

As for clarity, the book needed another edit or two. Sentences are overly long and muddled to the point that a class full of graduate students and their professor had trouble deciphering certain sections. (Edit: With some irony, I just had to correct a typo in my title.)
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A Theology of the Built Environment: Justice, Empowerment, Redemption
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