Second zoom-seminar: Nature and Ecology in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

In the scriptural traditions of the three ‘Abrahamic’ religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, nature is created by God. Nature as divine creation and human beings’ use and maintenance of it have played an important role in these three religious traditions from ancient times until today, and it has impacted the theological and ethical thinking, and religious practice of these three monotheistic religions.

The Garden of Eden with the Creation of Eve. Painting by Jan Brueghel the Younger

Jan Brueghel the Younger / Public domain

According to the creation story of the Book of Genesis, humans were created when the earth with its vegetation and animals already existed. The ideas of a shared divine origin of humans and nature and humans as the “crown” of creation entitled to “rule over” and “use” their natural environment has determined attitudes ever since. On the negative side, the consequences range from the widespread human exploitation of animals, forests, and plants to the global pollution and climate change we face today. On the positive side, various ecological movements have emerged whose expressed goal it is to preserve the natural habitats of our planet. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have been instrumental in creating and participating in these movements not least because of their belief in the divine origin of the created world around us.

The seminar will investigate various aspects of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim attitudes toward the natural environment from antiquity to today.

This seminar is the second in a series on Nature and Ecology in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Here you can see the program for the first seminar in May 2020 and hear the presentations.

Digital event - how to participate

The seminar will be held digitally because of the corona-virus. If you wish to attend the conference, please fill in this form

A zoom link will be sent to you before the event.

You can download Zoom or use your browser:


  • 15.00-15.15: Welcome and introduction by Professor Catherine Hezser
    Due to technical difficulties at the beginning of the seminar, Catherine Hezser presented her introduction after the third presentation and before the joint discussion.
    Suggestions for further reading:
    • Roger S. Gottlieb, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).
    • Willis J. Jenkins et al., ed. Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology (London and New York: Routledge, 2017).
    • Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, ed., Judaism and Ecology: Created World and Revealed World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).
    • Martin D. Yaffe, ed. Judaism and Environmental Ethics: A Reader (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2001).
  • 15.15-15.45: Pausanias as ‘Nature Writer‘: Religion, ‘Ecology‘, and the Storied Landscapes of Ancient Greece by Christopher Schliephake
    Suggestions for further reading:
  • 15.45-16.15: Textual and Social Activism in Islamic Eco-Theology by Laura Wickström
    Suggestions for further reading:
    • Wickström, Laura. 2014. ‘Secular and Religious Environmentalism in Contemporary Turkey’. Approaching Religion 4(2): 125-140.
    • Schwencke, Anne Marieke. 2012. Globalized Eco-Islam. A Survey of Global Islamic Environmentalism (pdf). Leiden Institute for Religious Studies (LIRS): Leiden University. 
    • Foltz, Richard C., Frederick M. Denny and Azizan Baharuddin. 2003. Islam and Ecology. A Bestowed Trust. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  • 16.15-16.45: Nature, Ecology and Jewish life in Norway by Lynn Claire Feinberg
    Suggestions for further reading:
    • Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Eco-Kosher [Initial transcript of lectures given on April 1 and April 15, 1998.] Ed. Singer, Ellen; Paradigm Shift, From the Renewal Teachings of Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Jason Aronson inc. Northvale,1993, Part V Paradigm Shift p 269-71
    • Schachter-Shalomi, Rabbi Zalman and Segel, Joel, Jewish with Feeling Riverhead Books, Penguin Group (USA) 2005, A new kind of kosher, Chapter 5, p 149-180
    • Ed. Bruland, B. Feinberg L., Levin, S., Tangestuen M. og Torp -Holte T., Det Jødiske året - Alt til sin tid, Jødisk Museum i Oslo 2011 - ( English and Norwegian text on the Jewish year and Jewish life in Norway)

16.45-17.30: Discussion and questions on all papers.

Moderator: Anne Katrine de Hemmer Gudme

Published Aug. 4, 2020 10:03 AM - Last modified Sep. 17, 2020 2:14 PM