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Reading the Book of Nature after Nature

Department of Philosophy and Religion, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
Religions 2020, 11(4), 205;
Received: 10 March 2020 / Revised: 14 April 2020 / Accepted: 16 April 2020 / Published: 20 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Faith after the Anthropocene)
Early modernity tended to appeal to the trope of the book of nature as a way of securing knowledge—including knowledge about God—against the exigencies of history and culture, but as theorists such as Timothy Morton, Bruno Latour, and others have argued, today this assumed dualism of nature and culture is both ecologically and critically suspect. What might it mean to read the book of nature in a time of ecological precarity, what many have called the Anthropocene? I will argue that premodern theological traditions of the book of nature, such as one finds in the twelfth century Hugh of Saint Victor, have something extremely important to add to a postmodern ‘terrestrial’ hermeneutics of nature, precisely because the premodern book of nature already performs the construal of nature as culture (and of culture as nature) so often recommended today by critics such as Latour, Haraway, and others. On such an account, nature is neither a fantasy object to be ignored or fled, nor a stable text to be tamed, rationalized, and epistemically leveraged, but rather the changing concept and experience of nature is a symbol illuminated in a book we half receive, and half create, a symbol open to both critique and contemplation, which gives rise to thought, action, and the sort of novel moral intuitions we need now more than ever. View Full-Text
Keywords: Book of Nature; Hugh of Saint Victor; Anthropocene; Bruno Latour; Timothy Morton; Slavoj Žižek; ecology and religion; eco-theology Book of Nature; Hugh of Saint Victor; Anthropocene; Bruno Latour; Timothy Morton; Slavoj Žižek; ecology and religion; eco-theology
MDPI and ACS Style

Sherman, J.H. Reading the Book of Nature after Nature. Religions 2020, 11, 205.

AMA Style

Sherman JH. Reading the Book of Nature after Nature. Religions. 2020; 11(4):205.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Sherman, Jacob Holsinger. 2020. "Reading the Book of Nature after Nature" Religions 11, no. 4: 205.

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