Persons, “impersonal” nature, and the Hebrew scriptures: a conversation with Mari Joerstad

The bible speaks of the sky rejoicing, the earth being glad, and the trees clapping their hands. Mary Joerstad, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible, thinks that the best way to understand these texts is that the sky, earth, and trees are presumed, in these texts, to be persons–other-than-human persons. And she offers this reading in conversation with a “new animism,” a movement of thought and practice that seeks to imagine and engage the supposedly “impersonal” nature as active and receptive, that is, relational as we humans are. As you can imagine, this has significant spiritual implications for how we think about, relate to, and live in “the environment”. If any of this seems intuitively attractive to you–or just some provocative ideas worth exploring–check out my conversation with Mari in our most recent Jesus-shalom podcast. And if it brings up some things you’d like to talk about, feel free to leave some comments here or on the Jesus-shalom website.

Autumnal Equinox Gathering

The earth’s flight positions us at the balancing point between day night. The Autumnal equinox marks the gradual transition in the global south towards summer and global north towards winter. So this is a good time for our next Christian Animism online gathering.

Our very special guest, Dr Mari Joersted, is Academic Dean of Vancouver School of Theology. Mari is a Hebrew scholar and her groundbreaking book, ‘Hebrew Bible and Environmental Ethics: Humans, Nonhumans and the Living Landscape’, lays exciting foundations for a biblical animism and therefore for Christian animism. This really is a conversation not to be missed. We know that you will find Mari’s warm personality and clear presentation both engaging and compelling with of course the opportunity to ask her questions about her understanding and its implications for our thinking about the world and our spiritual journeys today.

As an added happenstance, just days after Mari’s time with us her book, which has currently only been available in hardback and prohibitively expensive, is being published in paperback and so much more widely accessible. Once you have heard her speak you will realise that you simply must buy her book and read it!

Do book up now! Put it in the diary and spread the news!

Image by Valiphotos from Pixabay

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