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The Torah and the Stoics on humankind and nature

A Contribution to the Debate on Sustainability and Quality

J.J. Boersema

The environmental problematique is intimately bound up with deep-seated human attitudes regarding our relationship with nature. Here in the west those attitudes have been shaped to no small degree by the canonical texts of the Bible and the classical philosophers. In this book the author re-examines some of these seminal texts, arguing that what we today know as 'Christian cosmology' is in fact a grafting of classical Greek philosophy onto ancient Israelite thought, with certain valuable traditions being all but lost in the process. The dietary laws of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, in particular, still prove surprisingly relevant today. Often misread on this point, the creation narratives of Genesis can likewise serve as a rich point of departure for examining our attitudes towards the natural world. A reappraisal of these sources is necessary and feasible. There is no need for an appeal to cosmologies alien to our own culture, nor for recourse to 'New Age' beliefs in all their variety.