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Peace, spirituality, values, and activism
from a Jesus perspective

Persons, “impersonal” nature, and the Hebrew bible

Persons, "impersonal" nature, and the Hebrew bible

The bible speaks of the sky rejoicing, the earth being glad, and the trees clapping their hands. Mari 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.

Books referred to in the conversation:

Tim Ingold, “Being Alive”

Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Braiding Sweetgrass”

Edwardo Viveiros de Castro, “Cannibal Metaphysics”

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1 year ago

Enjoyed the podcast learning about and experiencing new ongoing approaches to Animism. Just to mention that I came to realize in Animism, that Jesus used Nature in miracles and healing. A few examples would be healing the blind man with mud and spit, the alabastar jar, fishes and loaves, walking on water. He also prayed and preached in Nature being in the gardens and on the desert and the Mounts.

I agree that Jesus in His way of teaching showed He was an Animist. Unfortunately we disconnected along the way making us out of sync. Hopefully, we can begin to bring Animism back into our lives for more harmony and peace. Thankyou!

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