Loving God's Wildness: The Christian Roots of Ecological Ethics in American Literature


Product Details

University Alabama Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 1.1 inches | 1.1 pounds

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About the Author

Jeffrey Bilbro is an assistant professor of English at Spring Arbor University in Michigan. His articles have been published in Christianity and Literature, Early American Literature, Mississippi Quarterly, and the Southern Literary Journal.


"Running deep in the American religious psyche, according to Jeffrey Bilbro, is a kind of environmental schizophrenia, a profound ambivalence that has led us to protect and celebrate wilderness areas while simultaneously fueling the ambition to 'redeem' untamed nature by transforming it into a material sign of God's favor. Despite Lynn White's claim that only a religious solution to an essentially religious problem like American environmental degradation will serve us, religious ideas in contemporary environmental thought remain largely untreated or ignored by scholars. By demonstrating how some of our most important and innovative Christian environmental thinkers--Thoreau, Muir, Cather, and Berry--have navigated this ambivalence and managed to recover a Christian ethic of holistic and ecologically grounded protection of the environment, Bilbro's Loving God's Wildness provides American religious thought with an indispensable roadmap toward a more sane and clear-headed embrace of environmental stewardship."
--George Handley, author of Home Waters: A Year of Recompenses on the Provo River and coeditor of Postcolonial Ecologies: Literatures of the Environment

"In this fresh and invigorating study, Jeffrey Bilbro skillfully weaves his way through four centuries of American history. Loving God's Wildness takes us on a journey from William Bradford in the seventeenth century to Wendell Berry in the twenty-first as it maps the complex and often vexing interplay between Christianity and the environment in the life and literature of the New World. With impressive clarity and conviction, Bilbro argues that many of America's greatest writers have turned to Christian theology for the resources they need 'to practice their love for the wild world.' This is indeed a book worth reading, an argument worth engaging."
--Roger Lundin, author of From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority and editor of Invisible Conversations: Religion in the Literature of America

"With its revealing, ably researched focus on the subsurface 'Christian roots' of American nature writing, Jeffrey Bilbro's analysis of four noteworthy writers is a welcome contribution to the growing body of ecocritical literary commentary. Admirers of Wendell Berry will find Bilbro's account of that author's ecological vision in later writings, including the novel Jayber Crow, particularly illuminating."
--John Gatta, author of Making Nature Sacred: Literature, Religion, and Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present and American Madonna: Images of the Divine Woman in Literary Culture