HUMAN IMAGE WORLD IMAGE: THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF SACRED COSMOLOGY BY PHILIP SHERRARD
It is now only too evident that the revolutionary changes in mental outlook that took place in western Christendom some three or four centuries ago, and that produced the modern scientific movement, are the major cause of the ecological crisis in which the world finds itself today. Yet the terrifying consequences of the practical exploitation of modern science are usually attributed not to modern science as such — and still less to the mental picture of the universe which it presupposes — but simply to its misapplication and abuse. We are even told, with a naïvety that is as inconsequential as it is typical, that modern science must be good because what is true cannot be evil, and since modern science works, or produces results, it must be true.
This book attacks such misconceptions head-on, and at the deepest level. By setting the modern scientific picture of the universe and man`s place in it against the background of pre-Christian and Christian cosmology and anthropology, the author shows unambiguously how our acceptance of this picture has literally enslaved us to a vast collective lie whose ramification in the major spheres of our thought and action cannot but vandalize and desecrate both ourselves and the world we live in. The thesis is presented with clarity, eschewing sensationalism and appealing to the disciplined intelligence and its capacity for coherent discourse. The last and perhaps most challenging chapter formulates a cosmological vision in the personalized terms of the sacred mythology of the Christian tradition.
Sherrard`s basic argument is that the ecological crisis is first of all a crisis not of the environment but of our own consciousness. It is a crisis rooted in the way we think. The way we see ourselves will determine the way we see the world and the image we have of the world will affect how we see ourselves. . . . What makes Sherrard`s analysis uniquely powerful is the way he supports his thesis with a rigorous and uncompromising critique of the paradigm of modern science and its doctrinal corollary, the notion of evolution, coupled with a penetrating analysis of the two epistemologies that follow from the two world-views: knowledge through sense data supported by mathematics versus participatory knowledge in body, soul and spirit. . . . Every pastor, preacher or theologian responsible for shaping or teaching a Christian world-view should read this book. Beyond this, it deserves the widest possible distribution since its message is too universally important to be restricted to specialists.”
Vincent Rossi in Epiphany.
For anyone who takes seriously his/her self and the world, and the salvation of both in Christ, this book is both compulsory and compelling reading. But be warned: it is the kind of book that exacts a radical response. Either you warm to it or else you don`t. If you are lukewarm, it is not readily digestible. This in itself may be a sign of the truth that it speaks.”
John Chryssavgis in Sorbornost.
About the Author
Philip Sherrard was an English author and scholar educated at Cambridge. Among the works for which he is best known is his collaboration in the complete translation of the Philokalia. The combination of his interests in metaphysics, theology, art and aesthetics led to his participation in the review Temenos, of which he was one of the founders in 1980. He was also recognized as a leading voice in situating modern attitudes and behaviors regarding the environment within a Christian framework.
In all his works, Dr. Sherrard sought to express an all-embracing vision, in which the natural and the supernatural come together in a wholeness that bears witness to the numinous wonder of life. This vision is the leit-motif of his last three books: The Eclipse of Man and Nature: An Enquiry into the Origins and Consequences of Modern Science (1987), The Sacred in Life and Art (1990), and Human Image, World Image (1992). He reposed in 1995.