Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Cultivating wilderness : a phenomenological theology of wilderness spirituality and environmental ethics
Author: Pritchett, Justin William
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 8047
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2018
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
In the wake of Lynne White's 1967 thesis contending Christianity is the historical root of our environmental crises, theologians have struggled to articulate an environmentally friendly theology. These efforts, while substantive, have proven insufficient to reorient Christian environmental ethics and practice en mass. Pope Francis argues in Laudato Si, that dogma, doctrine, and arguments are always insufficient for redeeming human relations and instead calls for an ecological conversion via a wild spirituality. I answer this call by offering a phenomenological theology of wilderness spirituality that grounds environmental ethics in the experience of encountering God in the wilderness. I use the existential phenomenology of American philosopher Henry Bugbee and Czech phenomenologist Erazim Kohák to map phenomenological practice as spiritual discipline. By engaging in lived, practical, and embodied practices bracketing one's intellectual and physical common-sense attitudes, the practitioner is opened to and made receptive to the redeeming work of God. This topology of phenomenology as spiritual discipline illustrates how wilderness functions in scripture. In conversation with Dietrich Bonhoeffer's reading of the Genesis 3 curse as both curse and promise I argue that wilderness functions by killing sicut-deus-humanity and thereby becomes the site of redemption, healing, and benediction. This spiritual and ethical function of wilderness is also evident in the early desert monks and grounds their praxis and ethical development. Ultimately, it is by being made vulnerable and receptive in the wilderness that the early desert monks were able to participate in the reestablishment of the paradisaical innocence. This suggests that redeemed relations between humanity and the non-human world is dependent upon the sanctifying experience of wilderness deconstruction and encounter and thus the efficacy of environmental ethics depends upon the invitation to practice a wilderness spirituality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Ecotheology ; Phenomenology ; Philosophical theology ; Nature ; Environmental ethics