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Reading Green

Tactical Considerations for Reading the Bible Ecologically


Jeffrey S. Lamp

Reading Green: Tactical Considerations for Reading the Bible Ecologically operates on the premise that the Bible itself does not directly address the current ecological crisis and that expecting it to do so is anachronistic, for there was no ecological crisis on the agendas of biblical authors as they penned their works. The true challenge in the field is engaging biblical texts that do not present a positive ecological message (e.g., the stories of the flood and the plagues), or that seem to focus their messages so narrowly on human subjects and their interests that they marginalize or ignore the concerns of the other-than-human creation. To address this issue, this book provides a series of reading strategies which begin with the current ecological crisis. Present areas of interest, such as environmental racism and justice, film criticism, and reception history and exegesis, are employed to construct various approaches to mine the Bible for its contribution in addressing the current ecological crisis.

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It takes many people to see a project like this come to fruition. There are the family members, most notably my wife Monica, who allowed deviations to their own schedules to allow me time for reading and writing. There are the professional colleagues, such as Carol Blan and Samuel Thorpe, chairpersons in the Oral Roberts University Undergraduate Theology Department, and the Dean of the College of Theology and Ministry, Thomson Mathew, who encouraged and enabled me to devote the time to the project and the resources to travel to academic conferences to present my research. There are the group leaders and participants of the Bible and Film and the Ecological Hermeneutics Sections of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the Bible Interest Group of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, who allowed me to present these studies and who provided helpful feedback to improve them. Of special note here is Norman Habel, in many ways the godfather of the ecological hermeneutics movement, who gave me my first chance to present a paper in the group at SBL and who has provided guidance and inspiration over the years, and whose work is the catalyst for the present volume. My heartfelt thanks to all of those who have enabled me to pursue this project. Moreover, A. J. Swoboda was generous with his time as he worked through a rough draft of the manuscript to make a gracious endorsement of the volume—to him I humbly express my gratitude. Finally, I...

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