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Witnessing a Wounded World: Theology, Trauma, and the Ecological Crisis
with Dr. Tim Middleton
Saturday, February 17, 2024
9:00 am to 12:00 pm CST

Recent work in Christian trauma theology has offered profound insights into the nature of human suffering and appropriate theological responses. But what about the nonhuman? What about the suffering of the natural world? Can other species, or even the planet itself, be said to be capable of experiencing trauma? What might it mean to view climate change and mass extinction as traumatic events for creation? In this seminar, we will think theologically about the possibility of ecological trauma. Drawing on the methods and approaches of several leading trauma theologians, we will examine how we might mourn, lament, accompany, and bear witness to the trauma of the Earth. This is an approach to eco-theology that is acutely aware of the severity and scale of current ecological suffering, and resolutely refuses naive or simplistic solutions, but still holds fast to the possibility of hope.

Tim Middleton is a Junior Research Fellow in Religion and the Frontier Challenges at Pembroke College, Oxford. His current work concerns religious attitudes to our contemporary ecological crisis, with a specific focus on Christian ecotheology. He also maintains an interest in wider conversations in science and religion, and the environmental humanities. His current book project brings ecotheology into conversation with recent work in Christian trauma theology and he has published articles in both the International Journal of Philosophy and Theology and Practical Theology. His initial training was in the sciences; he also holds a doctorate in Earth Science. In addition, Tim is a Research Affiliate at the Laudato Si' Research Institute and an Honorary Research Fellow at the William Temple Foundation, a think tank working on the role of religion and belief in public life. Previously, he served as Editor of the Journal of the Oxford Graduate Theological Society.

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