Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor

Rodney Taylor

Second Advisor

Greg Johnson

Third Advisor

Lynn Ross-Bryant

Abstract

Wendell Berry, a Christian agriculturalist and writer exemplifies through his life and work a new agrarian environmental ethic. This work will present the major tenets of that ethic and place this unique dictate of consciousness within an ongoing conversation about the importance of human morality in an ever-changing natural environment. Berry’s ethic questions the current notion of farming as a profane endeavor, and seeks to bring to light the reality of a connection between humans and landscapes, as well as between religion and agricultural practice. Through presenting the notion of bucolic landscapes as sacred space, Berry endeavors to question the current understanding of sacred realms in connection to how we view the natural world, as well as how we act in relation to that world. This thesis seeks to provide an explanation of Berry’s Christian agrarian ethic as a necessary voice among many within the environmental debate of our present society.

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