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Sacred Gaia: Holistic Theology and Earth System Science by [Primavesi, Anne]
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Sacred Gaia: Holistic Theology and Earth System Science 1st , Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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"The book is both stimulating and challenging...."-"The Friend .."interesting and thought-provoking and is worth careful consideration."- Dr. Lisa Goddard ..."a remarkable book [T]here is a trenchant critique of current methods in both Science and Theology."-"Earth Science as Theology Edward James "A splendid book.I now see why thoughts of Gaia are as much in the realms of theology as of science."-James Lovelock, Founder of the Gaia Theory "Here is a book that is really needed. Hurrah for it."-Mary Midgley

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3235 KB
  • Print Length: 220 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (11 Sept. 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B0YT5YW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,336,024 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
A fascinating book in which a theologian wrestles with the implications of Gaia theory. Theology must now be an earth science, the main task of which is to stress the "connectedness, diversity and sacredness of all beings". As she says, "All is sacred or nothing is sacred".
She faces head on the core assumption of Christianity that there is a special relationship between God and humans which places us above and apart from the rest of creation and which we have taken as a right to exploit and dominate nature. The Gaian insight of the profound and complete interconnectedness between living things renders the heirarchical view of creation, with humans at the top, redundant. She argues that a new perspective of our role in creation, and our relationship to it, is required. We must accept that we live only because we are continually receiving gifts from the Earth and the other lifeforms on it.
My sense is that many people are now beginning to glimpse these insights in different ways. Anne Primavesi does us all a great service by articulating them cogently and clearly and by providing the intellectual underpinnings from her readings in theology, history and science. She "gifts us" by helping us to understand and speak of them with more confidence.
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By A Customer on 17 May 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable book. The theologian Anne Primavesi has absorbed James Lovelock's work on Gaia for many years, and aims to develop the foundations for a new synthesis of Environment and Theology. The theme is enormous in extent, no less than the relating and fusion of the two previously separate disciplines, and there is a trenchant critique of current methods in both Science and Theology. In her preface the author explains that if Theology is going to say anything about environment, the theologians must recognise that the area they inhabit interconnects with all others within a greater whole. If Theology is to have a positive input into the important environmental debates of the day, the theologians will have to familiarise themselves with the scientific language which is used. They will need to translate their theological output into science-based environmental language. For the author, as for many of us, James Lovelock's Gaia concept provides a bridge between current scientific and theological viewpoints. Each one of us both continuously re-creates and is continuously re-created by our environment, so the concept of an unimpassioned scientific observer outside all events is as meaningless as a doctrine that the human species is created in God's image and totally independent of billions of years of pre-history and environment. Inside this great synthesis, Anne Primavesi analyses many problem areas: the outmoded macho-hierarchic structures of Western churches which reflect the original structure of the Roman State, the fallacies of objectivity and simple Darwinism. Dr. Primavesi has strong credentials in both Geophysiology (Gaia theory) and academic Theology.Read more ›
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By A Customer on 24 April 2001
Format: Paperback
I found it a hard read (indeed I only managed a few chapters) and very disappointing. The cover picture by Glynn Gorick is very good though. I had hoped for more as I attended one of her lectures last year. It focuses totally on Christian theology; it does not try to address the similarities of other, more holistic, belief systems with the James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis; or even consider the historic roots of many Christian traditions that come from a closer connection with the natural patterns of life. It uses dense language and lots of references to show that it is written by and for one of the clique, a classic symptom of reductionist, divide and conquer studies. An example of the language: "The ability of each to respond to God 'according to its kind' shifts us from a belief in ourselves empowered by our soul as the prototype of proper response to a more egalitarian view, one of a world which allows for and empowers a multiplicity of responses to God. In theological terms, we play one part in a polyphony of response orchestrated by all that exists. We do not, and cannot sing solo. Theology at this level is an earth science. This simply affirms that the systematic organization of human knowledge, in this case knowledge of God, now includes in its remit and discussions the environment in which that knowledge is systemized." If using such language helps those in the orthodox system realise their wider responsibility, then that is to be welcomed, but I doubt it will convert any unbelievers. I find it sad that theologians and custodians of our Official belief systems could think that they are separate from the rest of life. That they might not have thought of their/our environment is demonstrated by those wonderful floodlit Churches across the countryside hiding the beauty of the natural night and, by using more energy, hasten climate change.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Post post-modern Gaia thinking 12 Mar. 2012
By John Murray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The delivery took longer than I expected but on seeing the address of origin accepted why.
The condition of the book was then excellent and I feel I gained by buying a 'used' copy.
Thanx. The experience of acquiring a book in this way draws me more into the reality and excitement of our new Global world.
I am in the small city of George in the South Cape, South Africa, like to keep in touch with post-modern thinking and was recommended to read this book by Old Testament Professor Sakkie Spannenberg who is dedicated to taking the Christian faith beyond its shackles of the ancient writings that make up the Bible.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life is a continuous Gift 16 Jun. 2002
By Dave Kinnear - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dr. Primavesi spoke recently at a seminar on the Future Faith, and her view is grounded in a provocatively new and thoughtful understanding of theology as an earth science. I was privileged to hear her speak and found that it was easier to absorb what she had to say in lecture than it was to absorb what she has written in this excellent book. Perhaps that was because there was so little time to go back over what she said where with this book I found myself review the material several times before I was satisfied.
And there is no end to interesting concepts, ideas and models to keep one interested. One of the first "ah ha" moments was when Dr. Primavesi stated that "The acceptance of this 'truth within situations' by scientists today means, for them, that 'the epoch of certainties and absolute oppositions' is over." She then goes on to point out that we are "inside the truth" and not separable from it, so that all we can do is define a truth from within the situation. This of course applies to not only our science, but our understanding of our evolutionary processes, and our theology. She sees that human language, that vehicle we use to communicate ideas, thoughts, and experiences, anthropomorphizes all that we try to verbalize. Thus we cannot avoid the appearance of separation of ourselves from our environment.
As she moves on into the religious aspects of our struggle with good and evil, Dr. Primavesi states that "The complexity of interactions in our world is such that their outcomes, their effect-explosions, can never adequately computed, represented or predicted by us. This realization lay at the heart of Darwin's dissatisfaction with the insufficiency of human reason as an instrument for understanding the universe." And she concludes that even today, with all our scientific progress, we underestimate the issue of our being in this world and what we do to it, ourselves, and our progeny as we live our daily lives. We fail to look at the whole complex system as one interdependent system.
Sacred Gaia presents us with a model that affirms life as a continuous gift and points out the implications of such a model for religious understanding of our existence. A most profound and engaging book.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars groundbreaking gaian theology 9 Nov. 2000
By R. Griffiths - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Biologist and theologian Celia Deane-Drummond has written, 'Gaia should not be allowed a place as a form of theology' (1992:283). Anne Primavesi's latest book shows just how worthwhile it can be to ignore this advice.
Primavesi has written a first-rate theological reflection on the significance of humanity's place in the universe, thoroughly embedded, that is, is the processes of evolution. At the same time, however, she is able to critique Darwin's political biases in the light of more recent systems thinking, and to relate the controversial 'Gaia hypothesis' about the earth as a living system, to a more general and wide ranging discussion of the implications of 'autopoeisis'. In less than two hundred pages, the author suceeds in covering a wide range of important material, much of it rarely considered by theologians. For those lacking confidence in their knowledge of systems science I would recommend reading Fritjof Capra's 'The Web of Life' in conjunction with this book. Primavesi's organising principle of 'selfScape/socialScape/poeticScape/earthScape' is imaginative and helpful.
'Sacred Gaia' goes much further than, for example, Rosemary Radford Ruether's 'Gaia and God' in taking seriously the specific ramifications of the Gaia theory for theology. However, if I have a criticism, it is that there is no mention of the problem of testing Lovelock's claims in a meaningful way. In other words, Primavesi seems more interested in appropriating 'Gaia' as an attractive idea than as an accurate description of how life and the planet really interact. I am among those who are also strongly attracted to the idea, but it doesn't clarify matters to understate the difficulties of verifying certain features of systems theory.
All told, though, this is a sophisticated, highly engaging and groundbreaking book.
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