Date of Award

Spring 1991

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Theology

First Advisor

John Hart

Abstract

The idea for this work began over a year ago, when I first read the essay: "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis," by Professor Lynn White of the University of California at Los Angeles. The essay condemns the JudeoChristian land ethic which he blames for the majority of our current ecological problems. I find that I cannot agree with his analysis, hence this thesis. Through this paper I will attempt to show why I believe Professor White was incorrect in his critique. The method which will be used to explain my position is as follows: 1. Summarize and critique White’s essay. In doing so, those items which I feel are pertinent to this issue will be presented. 2. The way in which the followers of Judeo-Christianity approached the land ethic will be examined. This will involve a study of scripture and other sources as well as some of the traditions of these two faiths. 3. This information will be compared with the beliefs and traditions held by various Native American tribes. I hope to show where the paths of these groups converge, as well as what each group has learned from the other. 4. I will attempt to demonstrate why our current ecological crisis cannot be entirely blamed on the JudeoChristian ethic as Professor White claims. It is my hope that after reading this thesis, the reader may come to a better understanding of the traditional Judeo-Christian approach to land issues. Throughout history there have been misinterpretations of that approach which have led to some serious problems, but I believe that no one group or society is to be held entirely accountable for the current ecological crisis.

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