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The Steward of the Earth: Wendell Berry's Ecological Vision

Authors
Publisher
한국영어영문학학회
Publication Date
Keywords
  • 웬델 베리
  • Wendell Berry
  • 생태학적 이상
  • Ecological Vision
  • 대지의 청지기
  • The Steward Of The Earth
  • 유대-기독교적인 전통
  • Judeo-Christia Tradition
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography
  • Religious Science

Abstract

This is a study of Wendell Berry's ecological vision, which is deeply rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Unlike other ecological writers who try to find a solution to the ecological crisis in alternative cultures, Berry turns inwards and searches for a new possibility in a newly-interpreted Christianity. His ecological vision of building a promised land through his labor of atonement in the contaminated and waste lands of the world is in line with the modern ecothelogists who endeavor to find a viable ecological vision in the Bible. Both Berry and the ecotheologists insist that the world is created by God and He is still controlling and completing his creation, far from having disappeared from the world, leaving everything into the hands of man and natural order. This idea of the continuous creation of God, they think, proves the idea that man in the ruler of creation is a mere illusion bred by man's hubris, and urges man to accept his proper role of stewardship, instead. The idea of stewardship plays a crucial role in Berry's vision of the proper relationship between man and the earth. To live as a steward of the earth, the steward must accept the fact that he and the land are inextricable bound, in other words, that the land was fated to him by God. Berry explains this relationship in terms of marriage, in which responsibility and care are most needed in maintaining a harmonious relationship. Firmly married to and rooted in his own land, Berry heals and makes whole the dead land through the labor of atonement. By spelling atonement as "at-one-ment," Berry emphasizes that no genuine atonement is possible without becoming one with nature. By divesting the sacred of the world and by usurping God's place, modern techno-industrial civilization allows man an unlimited freedom to exploit and misuse nature and is, thereby, destined to bring about. ecological disaster. The only way to stop this unprecedented environmental destruction is to recover the sense that the sacredness and mystery are immanent in this world and acknowledge man's proper place in the scheme of creation. In the idea of ecological humility and love Berry finds and answer. If the former is to get over anthropocentric arrogance and to accept the world as God's creation and to acknowledge His sovereignty, the latter is to accept all of creation as man's co-fated partner and to promote their prosperity and well-being. Berry concludes that not the Judeo-Christian tradition, as Lynn White indicates, but the humanistic unbelief in God is the main cause of the present ecological crisis, and urges us to live as stewards of the earth.

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