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The Noetics of NatureEnvironmental Philosophy and the Holy Beauty of the Visible$
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Bruce V. Foltz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254644

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254644.001.0001

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The Iconic Earth

The Iconic Earth

Nature Godly and Beautiful

(p.113) Chapter 6 The Iconic Earth
The Noetics of Nature

Bruce V. Foltz

Fordham University Press

Environmental philosophy has ignored the holy beauty that should be its starting point. The Byzantine icon shows how to approach this numinous beauty that the earth harbors, and this is argued through several parallels. First, both icon and earth are inherently material. Second, both are non-mimetic, presenting realities beyond themselves rather than representing them. Third, both icon and earth are transactional and interactional, disclosing themselves not to detached inspection but to meaningful interaction. Fourth, while the icon presents a face, so too does nature face us. Five, both are contextual, requiring contextual narratives to become meaningful and intelligible. Six, when grasped noetically or contemplatively, both icon and earth present a vision of paradise, displaying divine energy or activity (energeia). Contrary to Lynn White’s critique, environmental problems came not from Christian thinking, but from our rejection of traditional Christianity, which sought to merge heaven and earth, the visible and the invisible.

Keywords:   Environmental Philosophy, Icon, Earth, Energeia, Face, Noetic, Divine Energies, Paradise, Lynn White Jr, Christianity

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