Publications from the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment

The following books have been published after the Forum’s regular conferences in Bamberg 2007, Åbo 2009, Chester 2011, Sigtuna 2013, Munich 2015, and Manchester 2021.

Religion, Materialism and Ecology


Edited by Sigurd Bergmann, Kate Rigby and Peter Manley Scott


This timely collection of essays by leading international scholars across religious studies and the environmental humanities advances a lively discussion on materialism in its many forms. While there is little agreement on what ‘materialism’ means, it is evident that there is a resurgence in thinking about matter in more animated and active ways.

The volume explores how debates concerning the new materialisms impinge on religious traditions and the extent to which religions, with their material culture and beliefs in the Divine within the material, can make a creative contribution to debates about ecological materialisms. Spanning a broad range of themes, including politics, architecture, hermeneutics, literature and religion, the book brings together a series of discussions on materialism in the context of diverse methodologies and approaches. The volume investigates a range of issues including space and place, hierarchy and relationality, the relationship between nature and society, human and other agencies, and worldviews and cultural values.

Drawing on literary and critical theory, and queer, philosophical, theological and social theoretical approaches, this ground-breaking book will make an important contribution to the environmental humanities. It will be a key read for postgraduate students, researchers and scholars in religious studies, cultural anthropology, literary studies, philosophy and environmental studies.


"This provocative collection of essays firmly establishes the vital importance of religion and ecology to broader conversations in the environmental humanities. Religion and spirituality are key sites and sources of material and bodily practices that, for better and for worse, shape human interaction with the natural world. Deploying a range of methodological lenses and narrative forms, these essays demonstrate that an inexorable thingness pervades religion, and that matter matters, religiously and ethically."

Lisa H. Sideris, Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA



"This timely publication provides the field of environmental humanities with the essential contribution studies in religion and ecology can bring to the critical conversation that addresses the healing of our planet. Its diverse authors provide the reader with important new insights into the nature of matter, materiality, and materialism. Together, they articulate the relational ontology necessary for human engagement with the more than human world to ensure a viable future for all planetary existence."

Roberto Chiotti, Founding Principal, Larkin Architect Limited, Toronto, Canada


"The editors of this volume, all key figures in the field, have given readers an excellent introduction to the intersection of religion as ecology, as well as the more recent developments in new materialism. The book gathers contributions from authors writing from the Northern hemisphere, from US and European contexts. The essays engage a variety of approaches to religion, nature and spirituality, and give examples on how to develop material practices for religious and spiritual retraditioning. Through case studies, poetics and narratives, readers learn of ways to engage new materialism to reconnect to the sacred stories, places and beings around them. This volume comes at a time when we most crucially need to take these teachings and practices to heart, mind and body."

Marion Grau, Professor of Constructive Theology, Missiology and Ecumenism, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society



"In the past there was a dual temptation to subsume matter under spirit or to reduce spirit to mere matter. By recognising that there is a religious dimension to materialism and by exploring this in novel ways, this volume breaks new ground – both for discourse on new materialism in the humanities and for discourse on religion and ecology."

Ernst M. Conradie, Senior Professor, Department of Religion and Theology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa



"In times of planetary suffering, one wonders why religions have not raised their voices louder and more prominently so far. This book finally addresses the intersection of religion and ecology, politics, ethics, epistemologies and ontologies – not just from a multi-religious and multi-ethnic but also global perspective. A must-read for all of us who see or seek the relevance of religion for a planet in peril."

Julia Enxing, Professor of Systematic Theology, TU Dresden, Germany



"Important subject matter creatively handled. Solid contributions from a stellar group of thinkers. Valuable reading for anyone seeking cutting edge reflections on what the environmental crisis demands of philosophy, religious studies or environmental humanities."

Roger S. Gottlieb, William B. Smith Dean’s Professor of Philosophy, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA


"Religion, Materialism and Ecology provides an important contribution to the fields of religion and ecology, and its partnerships with the transdisciplinary fields within Environmental Humanities. Seasoned and well-respected scholars present a range of ‘material entanglements disclosed by ecological unravelling’ in this collection. The book addresses ecological degradations related to material, philosophical and religious dimensions, with both theoretical approaches and illustrative case studies. It is rich with new and relevant insights. This is a most welcomed collaborative contribution by scholars trying to address various ecological crises in their many dimensions." 

Heather Eaton, Full Professor / Professeure titulaire in the School of Ethics, Social Justice and Public Service, Saint Paul University, Canada


"Materialism has outgrown predictable mechanics and embraced messy relationality. Religion, Materialism and Ecology wonderfully nourishes the flourishing of multi-disciplinary engagements with a vibrant world that never justified a separation of ‘natural’ and ‘social’ sciences. Situating religion and ecology debates at the heart of the larger environmental humanities field, it shatters illusions, acknowledges vulnerability, and obligates better scholarly engagement."  

Graham Harvey, Professor of Religious Studies, The Open University, UK




Religion in the Anthropocene


Edited by Celia E. Deane-Drummond, Sigurd Bergmann, Markus Vogt

Foreword by Heinrich Bedford-Strohm


This book charts a new direction in humanities scholarship through serious engagement with the geopolitical concept of the Anthropocene. Drawing on religious studies, theology, social science, history and philosophy, and what can be broadly termed the environmental humanities, this collection represents a groundbreaking critical analysis of diverse narratives on the Anthropocene.

The contributors to this volume recognize that the Anthropocene began as a geological concept, the age of the humans, but that its implications are much wider than this.

Will the Anthropocene have good or bad ethical outcomes? Does the Anthropocene idea challenge the possibility of a sacred Nature, which shores up many religious approaches to environmental ethics?

Or is the Anthropocene a secularized theological anthropology more properly dealt with through traditional concepts from Catholic social teaching on human ecology? Do theological traditions, such as Christology, reinforce negative aspects of the Anthropocene?

Not all contributors in this volume agree with the answers to these different questions. Readers will be challenged, provoked, and stimulated by this book. 


"Interpreting what it means to live in a time characterized by pervasive human influence throughout Earth's systems involves questions and narratives that appear religious in scope, even while they also challenge conventional religious thought. The essays in this collection, edited well so that they are both coherent and helpfully contradictory with one another, offer readers multiple ways into the conflicts and possibilities in the idea of the Anthropocene."

Willis Jenkins, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Virginia


"This timely book takes the notion of the Anthropocene literally by providing historical, theological, philosophical, and ethical elaborations on what it actually means that humanity has become a dominant force of the earth system. It is a scholarly account of the deeper human dimensions of the Anthropocene, moving beyond its predominating framing as a natural science phenomenon."

Dieter Gerten, earth system scientist, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, professor,

Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin, Geography Department


"Religion in the Anthropocene marks the first thorough treatment of religious and quasi-religious dimensions of the Anthropocene from perspectives as diverse as philosophy, theology, anthropology, and history, among others. This impressive collection of international scholarly voices aims not at consensus or easy answers, but fully explores the Anthropocene's profoundly ambivalent implications for humanity's place in nature and deep time, and our responsibilities for nonhuman others. Readers new to the topic, as well as scholars in the field, will come away with fresh--and sometimes disconcerting - insights into what it means to be human in the Age of Humans." 

Lisa H. Sideris, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University




Technofutures, Nature and the Sacred 

Transdisciplinary Perspectives


Edited by Celia Deane-Drummond, Sigurd Bergmann and Bronislaw Szerszynski


Moving from a critical consideration of theories, to narratives about technology, and then to particular and specific practices, Technofutures, Nature and the Sacred seeks to arrive at a genuinely transdisciplinary perspective focusing attention on the intersection between technology, religion and society and using insights from the environmental humanities. It works from both theoretical and practical contexts by using newly emerging case studies, including geo-engineering and soil carbon technologies, and breaks open new ground by engaging theological, scientific, philosophical and cultural aspects of the technology/religion/nature nexus. Encouraging us to reflect on the significance and place of religious beliefs in dealing with new technologies, and engaging critical theory common in sociological, political and literary discourses, the authors explore the implicit religious claims embedded in technology.



Animals as Religious Subjects 

Transdisciplinary Perspectives 


Edited by Celia Deane-Drummond, Rebecca Artinian-Kaiser and David L. Clough


This book examines one of the most pressing cultural concerns that surfaced in the last decade - the question of the place and significance of the animal. This collection of essays represents the outcome of various conversations regarding animal studies and shows multidisciplinarity at its very best, namely, a rigorous approach within one discipline in conversation with others around a common theme. The contributors discuss the most relevant disciplines regarding this conversation, namely: philosophy, anthropology, religious studies, theology, history of religions, archaeology and cultural studies. The first section, Thinking about Animals, explores philosophical, anthropological and religious perspectives, raising general questions about the human perception of animals and its crucial cultural significance. The second section explores the intriguing topic of the way animals have been used historically as religious symbols and in religious rituals. The third section re-examines some Christian theological and biblical approaches to animals in the light of current concerns. The final section extends the implications of traditional views about other animals to more specific ethical theories and practices.



Religion and Ecology in the Public Sphere

Edited by Celia Deane-Drummond and Heinrich Bedford-Strohm



A collection of essays from top scholars in the field of Religion and Ecology that stimulates the debate about the religious contribution to ecological debate.



Nature, Space and the Sacred 

Transdisciplinary Perspectives


Edited by Sigurd Bergmann, Peter M. Scott, Maria Jansdotter Samuelsson and

Heinrich Bedford-Strohm


Nature, Space and the Sacred offers the first investigative mapping of a new and highly significant agenda: the spatial interactions between religion, nature and culture. In this ground-breaking work, different concepts of religion, theology, space and place and their internal relations are discussed in an impressive range of approaches. Weaving together a diversity of perspectives, this book presents an innovative and truly transdisciplinary environmental science. Its broad range offers a rich exchange of insights, methods and theoretical engagements.