Bortom trädgården: En ekokritisk undersökning av tidigbysantinsk kristendom
Tidsperiod: 2019-01-01 till 2022-12-31
Projektledare: Thomas Arentzen
Budget: 5 200 000 SEK
European culture bears a great deal of responsibility for the emergence of the contemporary ecological crisis. It has sometimes been claimed that the misuse of the material world in the Anthropocene has its ideological foundation in the Christian religion. This project acknowledges the severity of human ecological exploitation and will examine its historical roots in early Byzantine Christianity. As far as the crisis is ideological or cultural, its solution lies in challenging and rethinking preconceived cultural ideas. The project will reconsider early Christianity in relation to its natural surroundings. Mythologically speaking, the Christians had left their Garden of Eden and found themselves in the ambivalent landscapes beyond its fences. What kind of relationships did the early Byzantines deem fit between themselves and animals outside paradise? How might they imagine the interaction between themselves and things around them?Ecocriticism is a relatively new approach to literary texts; more innovative yet is its application to early Byzantine texts. Assuming that the formative years of this Christian civilization have shaped subsequent European and/or Christian approaches, the project will analyze texts from the period when Christianity grew to be a hegemonic religion in the Empire.The project is multidisciplinary in the sense that it combines perspectives from church history, literary studies, theology, and Byzantine studies.