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Trees and Text: A Material Ecocritical Exploration of Gen. 2:4b–3:24 in The Green Bible

Hamon, R. B. (2019) Trees and Text: A Material Ecocritical Exploration of Gen. 2:4b–3:24 in The Green Bible. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In this study, I employ material ecocritical theory to explore both the depiction of trees in Gen. 2:4b–3:24 in the specific text of the Green Bible, and the Green Bible itself as a ‘material-discursive’ object. These two analytical approaches represent two modes of enquiry that are unique to material ecocritical discourse: ‘matter in text’ and ‘matter as text’, respectively. Trees are therefore at the centre of this study. Narrated trees are the focus of my textual analysis of Gen. 2:4b–3:24 and real-world trees are the primary natural material from which the text of the Green Bible is produced out of a complex assemblage of forestry, manufacturing, publication, distribution, marketing, and interpretation. I establish that Bennett’s model of distributive agency is compatible with material ecocritical theory and I employ this model in my methodology. I explore the ‘material-botanical’ features of the trees in Gen. 2:4b–3:24 and the numerous agencies exhibited by these trees. This analysis highlights the extent to which the trees of Gen. 2:4b–3:24 have been overlooked in ecological, narrative-critical, and theological readings of the passage, and allows me to propose a unique solution to why eating from the tree of life is not prohibited by Yhwh. I explore the materiality of Gen. 2:4b–3:24 as it is presented in the Green Bible and the materiality of the volume as a whole. I find the use of green text throughout the Green Bible inconsistent and that the environmentalist ideology of the volume relies heavily upon an anachronistic stewardship interpretation of Gen. 2:15. Ultimately, my analysis reveals that the explicit environmentalist agenda of the Green Bible is undermined by the ambiguous environmental and socio-cultural impacts associated with its production and interpretation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Dr R. B. Hamon
Date Deposited: 24 Dec 2019 09:56
Last Modified: 24 Dec 2019 09:56
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/25589

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