Earth Month Reading

Some Suggested Titles from AAR's Reading Religion

Reading Religion is an openly accessible book review website published by the American Academy of Religion. The site provides up-to-date coverage of scholarly publishing in religious studies, reviewed by scholars with special interest and/or expertise in the relevant subfields. Reviews aim to be concise, comprehensive, and timely.

Below, the editors of Reading Religion have selected some books and reviews from the site and have shared some titles available to review. If you’re interested in reviewing books for Reading Religion, take a look at the guidelines. If there are any books missing from the Reading Religion site that you think should be there, email [email protected].

Reviews to Read

The Cambridge Companion to Christianity and the Environment

Edited by Alexander Hampton and Douglas Hedley

From the review:

“What is especially impressive is that so many of the authors manage to eloquently speak across traditions, firmly grounded in Christian philosophy while still creating ample breadth for interreligious dialogue—further emphasizing the weight of what faith traditions may contribute to ecological and conservation efforts.” - Katarina Pejovic

Environmental Humanities and Theologies: Ecoculture, Literature, and the Bible

By Rod Giblett

From the review:

“At its core, the monograph is an urgent, passionate plea for attitudinal change towards the environment. The path towards such change and its possible endpoints, however, is still up for debate.” - Faizah Zakaria

The Oxford Handbook of the Bible and Ecology

Edited by Hilary Marlow and Mark Harris

From the review:

“Overall, this excellent collection merits a place of privilege and honor in academic and theological libraries. Biblical scholars, theologians, and philosophers working in ecological hermeneutics and exegesis and related areas should, and undoubtedly will, return to its stimulating chapters again and again in the near and distant future. It does exactly what such a handbook should do, and admirably so.” - Joseph K. Gordon

Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World

By Katharine Hayhoe

From the review:

“Citizens can understand, endorse, and lobby for policies that preserve humanity’s future, and they can persuade their friends and neighbors to join them in the work. Hayhoe’s own biography suggests that this may be true of evangelicals as well, even if most are clustered around the Doubtful point on the spectrum. With the right arguments, perhaps the climate movement may still move that powerful voting bloc, and benefit from its decades of organizational experience. The future may depend on it.” - Eric C. Miller

Available for Review

African Ecological Ethics and Spirituality for Cosmic Flourishing: An African Commentary on Laudato Si’

Edited by Stan Chu Ilo

From the publisher:
“This is the definitive African text on ecological ethics, African environmental spirituality, a theology of creation, and climate justice. The contributors to this important volume explore the common threats facing this earth our common home and the particular threats facing Africa because of our sick environment, unsustainable development practices, and the false narratives and programs of modernity in the African Motherland. Here, African environmentalists, theologians, and peace advocates in conversation with Pope Francis's Laudato Si', develop a roadmap for pastoral, local, and global education on ecological consciousness in order to bring about ecological conversion. African ecological wisdom is also offered as indispensable resources for recovering the intimate connection of all creatures and all peoples and as a praxis of solidarity for the poor, and our fragile earth.”


Creation Care Discipleship: Why Earthkeeping Is an Essential Christian Practice

By Steven Bouma-Prediger

From the publisher:
“Although our planet faces numerous ecological crises, including climate change, many Christians continue to view their faith as primarily a ‘spiritual’ matter that has little relationship to the world in which we live. But Steven Bouma-Prediger contends that protecting and restoring our planet is part and parcel of what it means to be a Christian.

Making his case from Scripture, theology, and ethics and including insights from the global church, Bouma-Prediger explains why Christians must acknowledge their identity as earthkeepers and therefore embrace their calling to serve and protect their home planet and fellow creatures. To help readers put an ‘earthkeeping faith’ into practice, he also suggests numerous practical steps that concerned believers can take to care for the planet.

Bouma-Prediger unfolds a biblical vision of earthkeeping and challenges Christians to view care for the earth as an integral part of Christian discipleship.”



The Camphor Tree and the Elephant: Religion and Ecological Change in Maritime Southeast Asia

By Faizah Zakaria

From the publisher:
“What is the role of religion in shaping interactions and relations between the human and nonhuman in nature? Why are Muslim and Christian organizations generally not a potent force in Southeast Asian environmental movements? The Camphor Tree and the Elephant brings these questions into the history of ecological change in the region, centering the roles of religion and colonialism in shaping the Anthropocene—'the human epoch.’

Historian Faizah Zakaria traces the conversion of the Batak people in upland Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula to Islam and Christianity during the long nineteenth century. She finds that the process helped shape social structures that voided the natural world of enchantment, ushered in a cash economy, and placed the power to remake local landscapes into the hands of a distant elite. Using a wide array of sources such as family histories, prayer manuscripts, and folktales in tandem with colonial and ethnographic archives, Zakaria brings everyday religion and its far-flung implications into our understanding of the environmental history of the modern world.”



Grounding God: Religious Responses to the Anthropocene

By Arianne Conty

From the publisher:
“Now that we have entered the Anthropocene, the geological age in which humans have altered the natural world to such an extent that nature and culture can no longer be separated, the modern dichotomies of mind versus body and culture versus nature have become implausible and need to be replaced. In Grounding God, Arianne Conty argues that it is in the field of religion where we can find a new ontology better suited for the Anthropocene. Conty calls this new religious ontology the grounding of the sacred, in that it seeks to deconstruct the binaries of modernity and provide in their place a revalorization of the immanent earth and the more-than-human beings that inhabit it. Such a grounding of the sacred is a potent means to overcome the exploitation and desecration of the earth and its nonhuman beings and, to provide in its stead, an inclusive cosmopolitics that extends mind into matter and culture into nature. Tracing such a grounding in the Christian, Buddhist, neopagan, and animist traditions, Conty seeks to elaborate an interdisciplinary ecosophy, one that uses philosophy, anthropology, and religious studies to provide new values for the present age.”