In response to the confluence of moral uncertainty with the increase of human power to alter nature, and through critical integration of the philosophical naturalism of Hans Jonas and the critical religious naturalism of James M. Gustafson, The Tangled Bank argues for an ecotheological ethics of responsible participation. By making the case that the moral pressures of our time call for a vision that is as deeply naturalistic as it is deeply theological, a critical perspective is advanced that is attuned to human embeddedness within nature as well as to human distinctiveness. In support of this, a moral anthropological method is deployed as a creative new way to integrate the comparative, critical, and constructive tasks of theological ethics. The insights of Hans Jonas and James M. Gustafson, interpreted comparatively for the first time, are critically drawn together to suggest new directions for scholarship and teaching in theology and religion and science studies.
Endorsements & Reviews-
"In this elegantly written book, Michael Hogue insightfully compares two leading figures dedicated to reconstructing ethics in the light of our environmental situation, the philosopher Hans Jonas and James M. Gustafson, a Christian theologian. With care and yet with genuine urgency, Hogue deepens understanding of these thinkers, but, more importantly, outlines the shape of an ethics capable of addressing the 'tangled bank' of life in our age. This book is a welcome addition to religious and philosophical reflection on ecology and ethics. I heartily commend it to anyone and everyone engaged with the pressing moral challenges we all now face."
--William Schweiker Author of Theological Ethics and Global Dynamics
"Michael Hogue takes the interaction between environmental and Christian ethics to a new and satisfying level. He describes and clarifies the parallel worlds of nature and spirit in which we humans participate. Hogue also insists on action. As humans we have a larger moral imperative--deliberately exercising our unique powers and opportunities of choice--to properly integrate modern society into the larger world of nature. Hogue admits to today's high levels of uncertainty, but argues for a definitive ethics drawn from both Christianity and nature. Michael Hogue writes with clarity, grace, depth, and humor."
--John Opie Author of Nature's Nation
"Part of the wealth of this book is its exploration of the exciting significance for our environmental future of the approaches of two major current thinkers. Hans Jonas is one of the most important but as yet little-known environmental philosophers of the twentieth century. James Gustafson is an outstanding and relevant theological ethicist. Hogue breaks down the usual stereotypes about the value of philosophy and theology and challenges his readers to expand our ideas about how to live on Earth. Scholarly yet lucidly written and engaging, this book charts new territory in environmental thinking."
--Jerome A. Stone Author of The Minimalist Vision of Transcendence
Michael S. Hogue
Michael S. Hogue is Assistant Professor of Theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School (Chicago, IL). He is the author of Varieties of Religious Ethics and the Vulnerability of Life (2009).