Sharing Eden – review
Sharing Eden: Green Teachings from Jews, Christians and Muslims, by Nathan Levy, David Shreeve and Harfiyah Haleem, June 2012. Kube Publishing Ltd, 106 pages, ISBN 978-1-8477-4041-0. RRP £4.99
Sharing Eden represents an important initiative between the Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions. It attempts to bring together resources, theological ideas and religious insights from each tradition in order to show the reader that addressing the ecological crisis is an opportunity for the human community to come together in dialogue and in love.
Each section includes a short summary of how Jews, Muslims and Christians approach issues such as sustainability and waste; water; energy and natural resources; climate change; food and biodiversity and regeneration. The reader is guided carefully through clear and accurate presentations of how the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities are seeking to address a plethora of ecological concerns.
It might be said, however, that the more advanced reader would hope for a more sustained and critical analysis of some of the topics and of, perhaps, how the ecological crisis presents us with an opportunity for genuine interreligious dialogue.
Nevertheless, those who have yet to acknowledge that there is, in fact, an ecological crisis, or admit that faith traditions contain rich resources which can sustain the quest for solutions, will be greatly inspired by the writings contained within this short book. The illustrations assist in giving the reader visual stimuli that encourage him/her to look at creation differently and subsequently to attempt to change his/her vision concerning how it ought to be considered.
The potential of this book lies in the fact that it brings faiths together in a way that avoids the temptation of expecting anyone to abandon their tradition, or to presume their tradition is more ecologically advanced or sophisticated than the other, but rather to show that the ecological crisis is one which is shared by the entire human family. Therefore, it makes sense to use the ecological discussion as an opportunity to dialogue and to share the rich resources contained within each tradition and come to a greater understanding of how we should behave in relation to the created order and indeed towards the various horizons and contexts within which this might be done.
One hopes that the authors of this short book will consider collaborating once again to produce and fuller and, perhaps, more sophisticated volume in the not too distant future, as this is important work indeed.
Ann Marie Mealey