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.