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Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture


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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. Rupture and re-membering; 2. Reading the Bible through agrarian eyes; 3. Seeing with God: Israel's poem of creation; 4. Leaving Egypt behind: embracing the wilderness economy; 5. A wholesome materiality: reading Leviticus; 6. Covenantal economics: the biblical case for a local economy; 7. Running on poetry: the agrarian prophets; 8. Wisdom or sloth? The character of work; 9. The faithful city.

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This book examines the theology and ethics of land use through critical biblical exegesis.

About the Author

Ellen F. Davis is Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School. She has previously taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale Divinity School, and Virginia Theological Seminary. She is the author of eight books, most recently Wondrous Depth: Old Testament Preaching (2005) and Getting Involved with God (2001). A lay Episcopalian, Davis is a member of the Archbishop of Canterbury's Building Bridges Seminar.


"The biblical writers were familiar with disputes over land use and land care, and the economics of food production were critical to their perspective. Reading the Bible from this perspective opens up dialogue with contemporary agrarians like Wendell Berry, who wrote the foreword for this book. However far from the land we may live, issues of stewardship, care and justice remain crucial. Davis argues that the Bible provides 'vision and principle' for land use in our time." --Christian Century
"Davis writes eloquently about biblical texts on agriculture, looking for insight into 'the material sources of life.' To disregard the environment, food production and treatment of animals in scripture is to miss reflection on essential aspects of life in the presence of God." --Christian Century (Take & Read)
"This is a lucid, wide-ranging, and thought provoking book that should be read by everyone in biblical studies, and should be assigned as a textbook in courses on biblical methods, Torah, prophets, and ecological hermeneutics." --The Biblical & Critical Theory

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