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About David L. O'Hara
David L. O'Hara is a writer and speaker in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He is Professor of Philosophy and Classics and Director of Sustainability at Augustana University.
He teaches courses in environmental philosophy including one on "wicked problems" in environmental law and policy. When he's not in his office or classroom, he's often walking the prairie, hiking along Alaska's rivers in search of migrating salmon, or working in rural Guatemala.
In addition to his books, he has published book chapters and poetry, and articles for Books and Culture, Orion, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.
He regularly teaches in Greece, Guatemala, and Belize. Originally from New York, he has lived and worked in Nepal, Spain, and Poland. He is a graduate of Middlebury College, St John's College (the "Great Books" program in Santa Fe, NM) and Penn State.
His favorite classrooms are all outdoors.
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An exploration of the Chronicles of Narnia and the Space Trilogy that “enriches our understanding of how to care for our world” (Alan Jacobs, author of Breaking Bread with the Dead).
In Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S. Lewis, authors Matthew Dickerson and David O’Hara illuminate an important yet overlooked aspect of the author’s visionary work. They go beyond traditional theological discussions of Lewis’s writing to investigate themes of sustainability, stewardship of natural resources, and humanity’s relationship to wilderness. The authors examine the environmental and ecological underpinnings of Lewis’s work by exploring his best-known works of fantasy, including the seven books of the Chronicles of Narnia and the three novels collectively referred to as the Space Trilogy. Taken together, these works reveal Lewis’s enduring environmental concerns, and Dickerson and O’Hara offer a new understanding of his pioneering style of fiction.
Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, the first book-length work on the subject, finds the author’s legacy to have as much in common with the agrarian environmentalism of Wendell Berry as it does with the fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien. In an era of increasing concern about deforestation, climate change, and other environmental issues, Lewis’s work remains as pertinent as ever. The widespread adaption of his work in film lends credence to the author’s staying power as an influential voice in both fantastical fiction and environmental literature. With Narnia and the Fields of Arbol, Dickerson and O'Hara have written a timely work of scholarship that offers a fresh perspective on one of the most celebrated authors in literary history.
“Both revelatory and a pleasure to read.” —Robert Siegel, award-winning author of The Whalesong Trilogy
"Downstream is an immersion (almost literally) in the streams and rivers of Appalachia in the company of two university professors, friends who through the years have developed both competence and knowledge in fly fishing. From its early pages I was riveted. Their language is exuberant but also disciplined. It didn't take me long to know that it would soon take its place on my bookshelf alongside John Muir and Henry David Thoreau. They are that good."
--Eugene H. Peterson, Regent College, Vancouver, BC, Canada
"O'Hara and Dickerson remind us that a fly fisher must think like a trout--then they lead us on a rugged and beautiful adventure through an ever-expanding 'riparian cosmos.' Downstream radiates out from Manitou's brookie into seamlessly shifting currents of ecology, philosophy, biology, personal history, engineering, natural history, theology, and management until we don't know where the human perspective begins and the brook trout's ends. They present a universe both stunning in its magnificence and terrifying in its fragility."
--Andrea Knutson, Oakland University, Rochester, MI
"O'Hara and Dickerson embark on an angler's quest for the fragile but resilient Appalachian brook trout, from the brawling rivers of Maine to tiny Smoky Mountain headwaters in Tennessee. But their journey reveals much more than that, about why we seek the places that trout live--the rivers and streams that allow us to know ourselves and find our way. This book is the vessel for a philosophy that celebrates nature, place, family, and home."
--Kurt D. Fausch, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
David O'Hara is an Associate Professor of
Philosophy and Classics, and directs the Philosophy program at Augustana College (South Dakota) where he teaches courses in environmental philosophy, ecology and deliberate living, and an annual course in tropical ecology in Guatemala and Belize. In addition to numerous book chapters, he has written for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Books and Culture, and Orion. Matthew Dickerson is a professor at Middlebury College (Vermont) where he has taught essay-writing courses on nature and ecology and on the literature of fishing. His other books include The Rood and the Torc (an historical novel), A Hobbit Journey (on the writings of J. R. R. Tolkien), and two other narratives about fly fishing, trout, and ecology: A Tale of Three Rivers and Trout in the Desert. Previous coauthored books by Dickerson and O'Hara include Narnia and the Fields of Arbol: The Environmental Vision of C. S.
Daniel A. Siedell , Karen Gonzalez Rice, Jason A. Danner, Arthur Pontynen, Michelle Lang, Scott Parsons, and David O’Hara
"Beyond Belief ventures courageously into the aporia between the contemporary art world and religious faith. Its authors lament the widespread distrust among contemporary artists and critics of religious themes, identifying intellectual blindness fueling this distrust, but also listening carefully for muffled cries for the return of the sacred. The collection is a delightful mix of fresh, critical perspectives, built upon a unified vision that re-roots the creative human act in the transcendent. We need this book to remind us what art might do for our souls."
Professor of Theology
University of Scranton
"Oh, how I welcome this book. It shines a light in the darkness of our critical debate on contemporary Art and Aesthetics. I find myself feeling strangely at home reading these essays, as if the world has been restored to it's right and proper axis. For this I am grateful and hopeful. Grateful that the conversation has begun and hopeful that it is just the beginning . . . This book will challenge postmodern critics and artists alike, prodding us forward to reevaluate our beliefs and aesthetics."
Artist and PEW Fellow
Ronald R. Bernier is Assistant Professor of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Management at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the author of Monument, Moment, and Memory: Monet's Cathedral in Fin-de-Siècle France (2007).
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit is one of the best-loved fantasy books of all time and the enchanting "prequel" to The Lord of the Rings. With the help of some of history's great philosophers, this book ponders a host of deep questions raised in this timeless tale, such as: Are adventures simply "nasty, disturbing, uncomfortable things" that "make you late for dinner," or are they exciting and potentially life-changing events? What duties do friends have to one another? Should mercy be extended even to those who deserve to die?
- Gives you new insights into The Hobbit's central characters, including Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, Gollum, and Thorin and their exploits, from the Shire through Mirkwood to the Lonely Mountain
- Explores key questions about The Hobbit's story and themes, including: Was the Arkenstone really Bilbo's to give? How should Smaug's treasure have been distributed? Did Thorin leave his "beautiful golden harp" at Bag-End when he headed out into the Wild? (If so, how much could we get for that on eBay?)
- Draws on the insights of some of the world's deepest thinkers, from Confucius, Plato, and Aristotle to Immanuel Kant, William Blake, and contemporary American philosopher Thomas Nagel
From the happy halls of Elrond's Last Homely House to Gollum's "slimy island of rock," this is a must read for longtime Tolkien fans as well as those discovering Bilbo Baggins and his adventures "there and back again" for the first time.
From Homer to Harry Potter provides the historical background readers need to understand this timeless genre. It explores the influence of biblical narrative, Greek mythology, and Arthurian legend on modern fantasy and reveals how the fantastic offers profound insights into truth. The authors draw from a Christian viewpoint informed by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien to assess modern authors such as Philip Pullman, Walter Wangerin, and J. K. Rowling.
This accessible book guides undergraduate students, pastors, and lay readers to a more astute and rewarding reading of all fantasy literature.
“Jacob Goodson and Brad Stone have brought together a fair sampling of contemporary thinkers . . . The three sections of Rorty and the Religious take on the status of Christianity in analytic philosophy, the implications of Rorty’s thought for Christian moral understanding, and the prospects for social hope. This book . . . brings together the intellectual life, as exemplified by Rorty, and the ‘sustained practice’ informed by ‘spiritual nourishment and the hope of the risen Christ.’”
—G. Scott Davis, University of Richmond
“Goodson and Stone’s spirited gathering of Christian thinkers shows us not only why, but how Rorty’s pragmatism needs an account of religion to ground its vision of hope and love. [It shows] why and how contemporary Christian theology needs a chastened pragmatism to bring its imaginings back down to earth. Here is an engaging philosophy and a critically minded theology, a reason for hope.
—Peter Ochs, University of Virginia
“Goodson and Stone have brought together an excellent group of religious thinkers who take seriously the invitation to start a new conversation with a secular, though not antireligious, thinker, one who recognized the power of telling and retelling in our private lives, but also in the generation of civic solidarity. By doing so, they have enriched and expanded our understanding of Rorty’s thought and of our religious America.”
—Eduardo Mendieta, Stony Brook University
Jacob L. Goodson (PhD, University of Virginia) is Visiting Professor of Religious Ethics in the Department of Religious Studies at the College of William & Mary. He has published scholarly essays in The American Journal of Theology and Philosophy and Contemporary Pragmatism.
Brad Elliott Stone is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the University Honors Program at Loyola Marymount University. He has published several essays and book chapters in pragmatism, continental philosophy, and Spanish philosophy.
There are deep and pervasive disagreements today in universities and colleges, and popular culture in general, over the credibility and value of belief in God. This has given rise to an urgent need for a balanced, comprehensive, accessible resource book that can inform the public and scholarly debate over theism. While scholars with as diverse interests as Daniel Dennett, Terry Eagleton, Richard Dawkins, Jürgen Habermas, and Rowan Williams have recently contributed books to this debate, "theism" as a concept remains poorly understood and requires a more thorough and systematic analysis than it has so far received in any single volume. The Routledge Companion to Theism addresses this need by investigating theism's history as well as its relationship to inquiry in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and to its wider cultural contexts.
The contents are not confined within the philosophy of religion or even within the more expansive borders of philosophy. Rather, The Routledge Companion to Theism investigates its subject through the lens of a wide variety of disciplines and explores the ramifications of theism considered as a way of life as well as an intellectual conviction. The five parts of the volume indicate its inclusive scope: I. What is Theism?; II. Theism and Inquiry; III. Theism and the Socio-Political Realm; IV. Theism and Culture; V. Theism as a Way of Life. The result is a well ordered and thorough collection that should provide a wide spectrum of readers with a better understanding of a subject that's much discussed, but frequently misunderstood. As the editors note in their Introduction, while stimulating and informing the contemporary debate, a key aim of the volume is to open new avenues of inquiry into theism and thereby to encourage further research into this vital topic.
Comprised of 54 essays by leading scholars in philosophy, history, theology, religious studies, political science, education and sociology, The Routledge Companion to Theism promises to be the most useful, comprehensive resource on an emerging subject of interest for students and scholars.