Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Vol 3, No 2 (2009)

The Agrarian Perspective of the Bible: A Response to James A. Nash, 'The Bible vs. Biodiversity: The Case against Moral Argument from Scripture'

Ellen F. Davis
Issued Date: 22 Jul 2009


James Nash correctly states that the biblical writers are more interested in the health of agricultural land than in biological diversity. Yet, far from being opposed, those two concerns are integrally related in key biblical passages, as well as in our current crisis, when industrial agriculture itself may constitute the largest threat to biodiversity and ecosystem function. The Bible’s agrarian sensitivity reflects the fragile ecological zone that is the central highlands of Canaan, the core area of Israelite occupation. Multiple passages point to the need for cultural practices of restraint in both material consumption and manipulation of natural systems. Thus the Bible may be helpful in generating particularized visions of what is good for both natural systems and the human communities that depend upon them for their own existence.

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DOI: 10.1558/jsrnc.v3i2.260


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