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Christianity, wilderness, and wildlife : the original desert solitaire

Author: Susan Bratton
Publisher: Scranton, Pa. : University of Scranton Press ; London ; Cranbury, NJ : Associated University Presses, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Unlike the many volumes that assume Christianity has been indifferent or detrimental to the environment, Christianity, Wilderness, and Wildlife reviews the long history of Christian wilderness spirituality and beneficial Christian interactions with wild nature. Beginning with the relevant Genesis texts, the volume documents the importance of wilderness as a location for spiritual events, including theophanies, and  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Bratton, Susan.
Christianity, wilderness, and wildlife.
Scranton, Pa. : University of Scranton Press ; London ; Cranbury, NJ : Associated University Presses, ©1993
(OCoLC)607902777
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Susan Bratton
ISBN: 0940866145 9780940866140
OCLC Number: 25748328
Description: 350 pages ; 24 cm
Contents: Abbreviations for Translations of the Scriptures --
1. Introduction --
2. She Went and Wandered in the Wilderness (Genesis) --
3. The Water Became Sweet (The Exodus) --
4. The Paw of the Bear, the Paw of the Lion (David and Jonathan) --
5. The Mountain Haunts of the Leopards (Writings) --
6. Fed by Ravens (The Former Prophets, Elijah and Jonah) --
7. Jackals in Her Palaces (Later Prophets) --
8. And He Withdrew to an Isolated Place (Intertestamental Times, Christ, and John the Baptist) --
9. The Desert Road (Acts and Revelation) --
10. The Original Desert Solitaire (Desert Monasticism) --
11. Oaks, Wolves, and Love (Celtic Monasticism) --
12. A Cave outside the City (St. Francis) --
13. The Limits of Western Wilderness (The Reformation) --
14. Spiritual Journeys --
On- and Off-Trail (Contemporary Questions) --
15. Mountain Crests, Desert Canyons (Contemporary Questions) --
16. The Wild and the Kingdom (Protecting the Wild).
Responsibility: Susan Power Bratton.
More information:

Abstract:

Unlike the many volumes that assume Christianity has been indifferent or detrimental to the environment, Christianity, Wilderness, and Wildlife reviews the long history of Christian wilderness spirituality and beneficial Christian interactions with wild nature. Beginning with the relevant Genesis texts, the volume documents the importance of wilderness as a location for spiritual events, including theophanies, and suggests that wilderness has traditionally been thelandscape where the divine may be most clearly discerned and directly encountered. Comparing several different Old Testament models of wilderness experience, the first chapters investigate such diverse incidents as Hagar's meeting with the angel at the desert spring, Moses and the elders of Israel viewing God through the sapphire floor, Jonathan and his armor bearer climbing the rocks to rout the Philistine garrison, and Elijah fleeing to a cave at Horeb. Wilderness encounters with the divine are associated with visionary experience, extraordinary providence and mercy, personal stress, spiritual transition, divine calling and the development of leadership qualities, freedom from antagonistic or ungodly cultural forces, and the development of a deeper understanding of the person of God. Additional wilderness motifs appear in the New Testament, such as the use of isolated places for both rest from the struggles of ministry and for battle with the demonic. Throughout the Bible, the natural environment is portrayed, not as a mere stage for spiritual events, but as responsive to God's will - a participant in the covenants and in holy history. This volume reviews the attitudes of the desert fathers, the Celtic monastics, and the Franciscans toward the sites they selected for spiritual exercise and for their monasteries. The writings of the monks document not only their love for wilderness, but their great care for the wild animals who sometimes joined them in their cells. The Celtic saints' lives, in particular, present numerous examples of holy men and women protecting wild creatures, not only from natural disasters, but also from human disturbance. Saint Francis of Assisi, often misinterpreted as the first nature-loving Christian, was actually the heir of a Hebrew prophetic and early church tradition that assumed wild creatures, including lions and wolves, could recognize and respond to the holy. The Reformation, in its battle against monasticism, rejected Christian withdrawal from society, at least for extended periods, and coincidentally brought the era of the wilderness saints to a close. Our contemporary relationships with wild nature require an increased understanding of its value to God, regardless of its usefulness to humankind. The Holy Scriptures document God's joy in the wild and the wonder of its productivity and great diversity. A lesson can be learned from Noah, who knew that if humankind were to be saved then the animals must be saved as well. In Christian terms, the peaceable kingdom of Isaiah 11 is the ideal of human interaction with the wilderness.

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