The Expository Times Book Review: FROM MYTHOLOGY TO ECOLOGY Leonardo Boff, Essential Care: An Ethics of Human Nature, trans. and notes by Alexandre Gilherne (London: SPCK, 2007. £14.99. pp. 192. ISBN 978 028105853)
Jane E. Wallman-Girdlestone The Expository Times 2008; 120; 44 DOI: 10.1177/00145246081200011202 The online version of this article can be found at:

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it surveys ‘the basic interpretations evangelicals have given to these questions’. ISBN 978– 0281–05853). 192. One of my colleagues protested heartily. 2007. California FROM MYTHOLOGY TO ECOLOGY Leonardo Boff. ISBN 978–0–8010–2645–4). I can imagine it being useful in Bible College courses and in study groups in conservative churches. Boff offers inspirational figures from Jesus Christ to Gandhi. it concludes that if one believes that God exists and can reveal the future. So for 61:1–3. I wanted it to be prerequisite that students had taken at least one survey-type course before undertaking a course on a book. trans. pp. pp. He argues that in essence one of homo-sapiens’ key signatures is an ability to not only show care for the purposes of survival but be intelligent with regards to how care is given. a caring community life. While it discusses in open-minded fashion the possibility that there was more than one Isaiah. and notes by Alexandre Gilherne (London: SPCK. Mother Theresa to St Antonio. In a recent faculty meeting I was lamenting the difficulty of trying to teach a course on a book such as Isaiah when some students arrive with no prior knowledge of the Old Testament.sagepub. but in considering such passages its default position is to assume that the New Testament is a good guide to the meaning of the Old Testament text. it would not frighten them.99. Essential Care: An Ethics of Human Nature.99. The book also works hard to show how Isaiah relates to people’s individual lives. Beyer. 2009 . For Boff an ethically rooted care structure can only be achieved through the building of a sustainable society. conserving Downloaded from http://ext. as examples of his synthesis. in connection with the interpretation of passages such as the identity of the ‘almah in 7:14. and covers questions such as the feminine imagery in Isaiah 40 – 66 and what happened at the Babylonian New Year Festival. study questions. this is an unnecessary hypothesis. JOHn GOLDIngaY Fuller Theological Seminary Pasadena.) This textbook designed for the study of Isaiah ‘assumes a completion of Bible survey courses as well as a working knowledge of the principles of hermeneutics and exegesis’ but it is written in readerfriendly fashion. chapter outlines and objectives. It shows good awareness of many aspects of modern study of Isaiah. glossaries of key terms. global improvement in the quality of life. Boff uses an early fable-myth attributed to Hyginus to reflect on the underlying purposes and conditions of caring – the ethics of care. £14. with sidebars. Boff offers a new interpretation on a familiar theme – the centrality of care to the intrinsic worth or human beings. and suggestions for further reading. It includes useful documents such as the Siloam inscription and Sennacherib’s account of his siege of Jerusalem. some without. he very much likes teaching a course on a book such as Isaiah as a way into Old Testament study for students. I think people with very little background would cope with it fine. Encountering the Book of Isaiah (Grand Rapids.1177/0014524608096276 http://EXT. His synthesis shifts liberation theology’s approach from the oppression of the poor to the oppressive behaviours of humankind towards Gaia – planet earth. BOOK REVIEWS A CONSERVaTIVE GUIDE TO ISaIaH Bryan E.44 Volume 120  Number 1  Pages 44–51 Copyright T H© E 2008 E X SAGE P O S Publications ITORY TIMES (Los Angeles  •  London  •  New Delhi  •  Singapore  •  Washington DC) DOI: 10. as it takes the kind of view of the text that they are familiar with from their church life (if there is a view of the text that they are familiar with from their church life).com at MADURAI KAMRAJ UNIV on June 18. Similarly. 2007. $24. And for better or worse.sagepub. (We reached an amicable arrangement whereby there could be some courses with a prerequisite. Instead of following conventional approaches to Liberation Theology. ‘the New Testament evidence again points to Jesus as the fulfilment of Isaiah’s words’. Boff draws on an interesting paradigm to highlight his basic thesis. MI: Baker Academic.

Ethics. and explains central group-beliefs clearly and concisely. have produced a really impressive Downloaded from http://ext. needed to push harder at our norms and not let us feel quite as comfortable as this book does. changing personal practices and with that personal attitudes: encouraging local care of the environment. In a sense Boff is encouraging us to tend our own backyard – each other – and planet earth.). 2008. PAUL FOSTER School of Divinity. 645. He admits that. and Ethos in the New Testament (BZNW 141. However. 3). The difference was that somehow Fox’s lightness of touch and disrespect for convention made some of his work feel as though it might be possible to change our thinking. this will be the ballast that helps us interpret and embrace the storm of challenge and change. For readers within an over-developed and selfinterested driven culture like Europe and the US. but it also makes the reader aware of how dissonant many of the beliefs are when compared to mainstream Christian groups. pp. keeping within the earth’s carrying capacity. These explore different themes of Mormonism or phases in its history. JanE E. In an age when perception is everything. but learned volumes allow educated readers to come up-to-speed on a variety of topics.THE EXPOSITORY TIMES 45 the earth’s existing diversity. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter.99. providing networks of conservation and development. Boff’s sythnthesis has heart and soul.sagepub. 2006. pp. Admittedly. this book may seem a little old-fashioned. University of Edinburgh AN INSIDER PERSPECTIVE ON MORMONISM Richard L. Boff. ISBN 978–3–11–018973–5). Bushman. The majority of chapters commence with a detailed discussion of how the theme in question was understood during the foundational period of the movement (1830s – 1850s). harking back to simpler times when life wasn’t complicated by the transitional reality of fast-developing technology and increasing understandings of our context within the Universe. written from an insider’s perspective. It is interesting rather than inspiring transformation directly. but it is primarily ideological with a practical template which is practical in spirit but unimplementable in practice. Inverness as well as giving a snapshot of how mainstream Mormons view their own religion. Bushman squarely addresses some of the criticisms raised against Mormonism. van der Watt (ed. This book is a prophetic reminder and revision of the realities of being human and inhabiting a lone planet.00. in the twenty-first century. xiii + 130. and creating a global alliance. The Very Short Introduction series has been a publishing phenomenon. 2009 . Reading his discussion will perhaps clarify why this is so from the Mormon position. especially in the contemporary period. Bushman’s introduction to Mormonism. Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: OUP. It reminded me of a toned-down version of the writings of mystics such as Meister Eckhart which were later hijacked by Matthew Fox in the 1960s and 1970s with the re-creation of a wholly creation-based spirituality. Bushman distinguishes between mainline practices and the adherence of splinter groups to behaviours that generate salacious media interest. The book is divided into seven chapters. G. These brief. will clarify many misunderstandings A COmpENDIUm Of NEW TESTamENT ETHIcS J. Bushman is a strong advocate of Mormonism. and this may blunten the critical edge of this volume to some extent. focusing on the minutiae of human existence as described and embraced by our heritage. WaLLMan-GIRDLESTOnE St Columba House. The discussion of the practice of ‘plural marriage’ sheds much light where there has previously been heat by emphasizing that the custom was official forbidden by Latter-day Saints in 1890. In this volume South African New Testament scholars. ISBN 978–0–19–53030–6). Identity. with the support of some ‘imports’ from all over the world. ‘the charge that Mormons are not Christians puzzles Latter-day Saints more than any other criticism’ (p. By outlining the factions within the Mormon movement. £6. The crisis of sustainability is in my backyard and not just a ‘difficulty’ others can discuss and rectify. € at MADURAI KAMRAJ UNIV on June 18. and then how it has subsequently been appropriated. it remains a valuable corrective to many false understandings of this religious movement.

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