Abstract

After critically reviewing the ongoing development of various publics in public theology, this article attempts to develop an additional public in nonanthropocentric terms in order to ground adequately public theology’s approach to the current climate crisis. Seeking a path between an account of Earth as a commons, with its emphasis on similarity and the diffractive method’s emphasis on the separateness of biodiverse lives, it argues that Merleau-Ponty’s articulation of the flesh of the world provides material for a politically engaged public theology. In emphasizing the separateness of embodied selves in the perceptual fields of embodied flesh, it develops an account of the ecosphere as an ontologically grounding public to correct the limitations of various ‘publics’ as human-centered institutions. In doing so, the transcendence of Earth’s embodied inhabitants is emphasized that conceives of public in terms of the connective tissues of more-than-human bodies.

in International Journal of Public Theology