Master of Arts (MA)
Comparative Literature (Interdepartmental Program)
The subject of this thesis revolves around the “Western” view of nature and its social origins. The author advances the subject through a comparison of two ancient texts: Hesiod’s Works and Days and the Old Testament book of Proverbs. He concludes that the Western view of nature gestated in agricultural societies of small-farmers who saw themselves as being both part of and separate from the natural world. Their ability to control nature being limited, they saw civilization as fulfilling a limited agricultural role in the cosmos, as being different but part of and not controlling the whole. In the last chapter, the author moves to discussing the forces at play within the Western view of nature that have resulted in the environmental situation of the twenty-first century. The author advances that a view of the physical realm as secondary, or degraded vis-à-vis the realm of the intellect entered Christianity through Platonic philosophy, and therefore is not original to the Western view of nature. Furthermore, he contends that the original interaction of Western man with nature was through physical work, and that both Platonic philosophy and modern science have influenced this original relationship.
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Manning, Ernest Nathan, "Ancient Greek and ancient Hebrew agrarianism: an ecocritical study of Hesiod's Works and Days and the Book of Proverbs" (2008). LSU Master's Theses. 358.