An Ecology of Transfiguration

Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Environmentalism | 0 comments

Ecology of Transfiguration, Orthodox environmentalismI am very glad to have received a copy of the newly-published collection of essays on Orthodox environmentalism entitled Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration: Orthodox Christian Perspectives on Environment, Nature, and Creation. The book is published by Fordham University Press (2013) and edited by Deacon John Chryssavgis and Bruce V. Foltz.

I plan to use the thirty-one essays included in the book as a basis for blogging about Orthodox contributions to environmental thought.

Toward an Ecology of Transfiguration is a big book, weighing in at 487 pages. It begins with

  • a commendation by HRH Charles, the Prince of Wales;
  • a Prefatory Letter by His All-Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople;
  • a Foreword by the well-known environmental activist Bill McKibben; and
  • an Introduction by the two editors of the volume.

Then comes the main body of the book, divided into four sections

  1. “Knowledge united to God”: Environment, Nature, and Creation in Patristic Thought;
  2. “The heart that receives”: Environment, Nature, and Creation in Twentieth-Century Orthodox Thought;
  3. “Love comes from meeting God”: Historical, Theological, and Philosophical Dimensions; and
  4. “Sweetness overflowing onto the earth”: Insights from Orthodox spirituality.

Each section comprises a number of articles, some of them new, some of them reprinted from older sources. The book ends with three Appendices

  1. The text of the service of Vespers for the Environment;
  2. Environment, Nature, and Creation in Orthodox thought: A Bibliography of Texts in English; and
  3. a Glossary of terms.

Rounding out the book are 52 pages of notes, a list of contributors, indices of classical and contemporary names, and a general index to the whole work.

I am familiar with most of the authors, and I have read some of the older articles before as part of my own continuing interest in Orthodox environmentalism. Given my abiding love of St Maximus the Confessor, I’m especially happy to see two articles devoted to him, as well as the numerous references to him throughout the book, as given in the general index. I’m curious to see what these articles and the rest of the book holds. I’ll be sharing my insights with you here.

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