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The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-First Century
Thomas Berry | Edited and with a Foreword by Mary Evelyn Tucker
Columbia University Press / Softcover / 2009-09-01 / 0231149522
Ecology and Environment
price: $26.50 (may be subject to change)
200 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-6 business days

A leading scholar, cultural historian, and Catholic priest who spent more than fifty years writing about our engagement with the Earth, Thomas Berry possessed prophetic insight into the rampant destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of species. In this book he makes a persuasive case for an interreligious dialogue that can better confront the environmental problems of the twenty-first century. These erudite and keenly sympathetic essays represent Berry's best work, covering such issues as human beings' modern alienation from nature and the possibilities of future, regenerative forms of religious experience. Asking that we create a new story of the universe and the emergence of the Earth within it, Berry resituates the human spirit within a sacred totality.

--- from the publisher


"Dedicated readers of ecology, theology, or religious philosophy will want to savor each one [of these essays]." — Library Journal

"The volume is a fair encapsulation of the intellectual concerns for which Berry is best known. " — Christina Peppard , Commonweal

"Thoams Berry demonstrattes in these papers the qualities he calls for: humanist vision and imagination." — Peter Reason, Resurgence

"By developing a sustained critique of technology-enhanced consumerism, Berry makes a powerful call for a return to core values that include connectivity with nature and a quest for a reimagination of religious meaning." — Christopher Key Chapple, Loyola Marymount University

"These essays are vintage yet original Berry. He leads the discussion to the significance of our era of global awareness, cultural encounters, ecological degradation, scientific marvels, and religious impasses and requirements, offering new insights into the necessity of a deep rapprochement between science and religion/spirituality and why religions need science to move into an ecological phase. Unique, perceptive, and compelling—a requirement for anyone concerned about the role of religion and the future of life on Earth." — Heather Eaton, Saint Paul University

"One of the leading voices broadening the environmental movement to include ethical and spiritual values." — Gus Speth, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

"Berry's essays enable us to follow the broadening and deepening vision of a passionate lover of wisdom. Berry is one of the few who inherited the ancient task of philosophy: to seek comprehensive understanding of the most important questions as a guide to life. His journey brought him to realize that the planetary future is in our hands. While others scattered their interests and efforts over many fields, Berry rightly saw this as the challenge of our day. With insight that is unexcelled, he writes graciously but uncompromisingly about the profound changes that must occur individually and collectively." — John B. Cobb Jr., Claremont School of Theology

"Like a flash of lightning on a dark night, Thomas Berry illuminated the darkness of our time like no other. We are all in his debt for helping us see that what ails us has less to do with better technology or a bigger economy and more to do with finding our spiritual bearings in the age he calls the Ecozoic. For the universe story that he tells so powerfully, there is no finer or truer storyteller than Berry." — David Orr, Oberlin College

"In essays sparkling with thought-provoking insights, The Sacred Universe explores the dimensions of a new, creation-centered spirituality for the emerging global community. Thomas Berry challenges modern civilization and the world's religions to awaken anew to the sacred presence pervading the natural world and to recognize that the primary sacred community is the community of life as a whole and the larger evolving universe. The reader will find in Berry's essays an illuminating approach to the reconciliation of science and religion and the building of a just, sustainable, and peaceful future." — Steven C. Rockefeller, Middlebury College, and co-chair, Earth Charter International Council

"The Sacred Universe is destined to become a classic for its new answers to ancient questions: Who are we in relation to the universe? How shall we then live? The book could not come at a more critical time. Current environmental emergencies call for wisdom greater than any the world has ever seen. Thomas Berry's book is thus an essential gift, offering great wisdom that is deeply informed by ancient cultures and contemporary cosmology. We must set aside the pathologically anthropocentric stories that have failed to prevent us from devastating life that took fourteen billion years to fully flower, Berry writes, and tell new stories that celebrate the unity of life—the planet Earth and the universe as a single sacred community and humans as its jubilant expression. It's unreasonable to think that any one man's vision can save us, but Berry can set us firmly on our way to saving ourselves." — Kathleen Dean Moore, author of The Pine Island Paradox: Making Connections in a Disconnected World


Foreword by Mary Evelyn Tucker

Part I

1. Traditional Religion in the Modern World (1972)

2. Religion in the Global Human Community (1975)

3. Alienation

4. Historical and Contemporary Spirituality

Part II

5. The Spirituality of the Earth (1979)

6. Religion in the Twenty-first Century (1993, 1996)

7. Religion in the Ecozoic Era (1993)

Part III

8. The Gaia Hypothesis: Its Religious Implications (1994)

9. The Cosmology of Religions (1994, 1998)

10. An Ecologically Sensitive Spirituality (1996)

Part IV

11. The Universe as Divine Manifestation (2001)

12. The Sacred Universe (1998, 2001)

13. The World of Wonder (2001)



About the Author:

Thomas Berry (1914-2009) established the History of Religions Program at Fordham University and, with Wm. Theodore de Bary, founded the Oriental Thought and Religion Seminar at Columbia University. He was also the former director of the Riverdale Center for Religious Research. Along with his books Buddhism and Religions of India, his major publications include The Dream of the Earth, The Great Work, Evening Thoughts, and The Universe Story, with Brian Swimme.Mary Evelyn Tucker directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale where she teaches in a joint degree program between the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Divinity School. She is the author of Moral and Spiritual Cultivation in Japanese Neo-Confucianism, The Philosophy of Qi, and Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase.

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