What on earth is wrong with the world? Five Christian voices on hamartology and ecology
Cloete, Newton Millan
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This study is situated in the context of Christian ecotheology, which offers both a Christian critique of ecological destruction and an ecological critique of Christianity. One dimension of Christian ecotheology involves ecumenical discourse on the content and ecological signi-ficance of the Christian faith. This calls for a reinterpretation of all the classic Christian symbols. The focus of this study is on the ways in which the nature of sin is understood in contemporary contributions to ecotheology. In the literature, this is done explicitly through a redescription of sin but is often also implicit in a discussion of the root causes of environmental destruction and reflections on the underlying question – what on earth has gone wrong with the world in which we live? – given the ominous signs of environmental destruction. This study is more specifically situated in a larger project entitled: “Redeeming sin: Hamartology, ecology and social diagnostics”, registered at the University of the Western Cape. This study investigates the positions of five distinct authors who have offered a redescription of the nature of sin through their contributions to ecotheology. These authors are John Chryssavgis (Greek Orthodox Church), Aruna Gnanadason (Church of India), Jesse Mugambi (Anglican Church in Kenya), Larry Rasmussen (Lutheran Church in North America), and Rosemary Radford Ruether (Roman Catholic Church, based in North America). Their understanding of sin is described and analysed on the basis of a close reading of primary and secondary sources. Similarities and differences between their positions on the nature of sin are then compared in order to capture the state of the contemporary debate in ecotheology and to consider emerging horizons for further discourse and research on hamartology and ecology.