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Eco Bible: Volume 1: An Ecological Commentary on Genesis and Exodus


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Commentary on the books of Genesis and Exodus that highlight how the topic of Ecology is a crucial part of the Bible

I was really excited about reading this book because I love nature, and although I grew up reading the Bible (both Old Testament and New Testament) I had never paid much thought to how the Bible looks at the environment and how that perspective can be useful to us in this day and age. Recently I've heard several comments, amidst the discussions on the wrongs of capitalism, that the Judeo-Christian religions do not support environmentalism due to a Biblical verse that talks about how God says man was to subdue the earth and rule over the animal. I knew inherently that this interpretation was wrong but I'd never really taken the time to look into it or study it in more detail.

That's where this book comes in. It's an important book, one I am so grateful to have read. It's a commentary on the books of Genesis and Exodus, focusing on verses in this book that expound upon ecology, the environment, etc. The book starts of with an introduction that goes into details about how the earth is in bad shape because of our poor relationship with nature, each other, and spirituality. We read the thoughts of Jewish rabbis and how they interpret their holy scriptures. I learned a lot, not just about how the Bible is truly more ecological than I'd imagined, but also about Jewish culture, history, and language, which are, I immediately saw, very important to study if we are to understand the Bible.

This is a timely read, and as it was released just this year it actually mentions covid, the fertilizer explosion in Beirut, and other recent environmental disasters. Unfortunately, all these disasters could have been avoided had we had a better relationship with the earth. And we need to have one for the sake of our own survival.

To sum up my reading experience: I often find religious books a little too heavy and pedantic, but this was a very accessible read. It would make a great book club read, particularly with the thoughtful discussion questions after each section. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by

A cultural writer, seeker, and observer with an indefatigable hunger for learning and communication.

Genesis, first commentaries

About the author

Rabbi Yonatan Neril founded and directs The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development. He completed an M.A. and B.A. from Stanford University, focusing on global environmental issues, and received rabbinical ordination in Israel. He lives with his family in Jerusalem. view profile

Published on October 19, 2020

Published by Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development

70000 words

Genre: Religion & Spirituality

Reviewed by