Fortress Press

Preservation and Protest: Theological Foundations for an Eco-Eschatological Ethics

Preservation and Protest

Theological Foundations for an Eco-Eschatological Ethics

Ryan Patrick McLaughlin (Author)


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Preservation and Protest proposes a novel taxonomy of four paradigms of nonhuman theological ethics by exploring the intersection of tensions between value terms and teleological terms. McLaughlin systematically develops the paradigm of cosmocentric transfiguration, arguing that the entire cosmos shares in the eschatological hope of a harmonious participation in God’s triune life. With this paradigm, McLaughlin offers an alternative to anthropocentric and conservationist paradigms within the Christian tradition, an alternative that affirms both scientific claims about natural history and the theological hope for eschatological redemption.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451480405
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 240
  • Emerging Scholars category Theology
  • Publication Date November 1, 2014


Part I: A New Taxonomy of Nonhuman Theological Ethics
1. Current Taxonomies of Nonhuman Theological Ethics
2. Three Theological Loci for a New Taxonomy
3. A New Taxonomy
4. Anthropocentric Conservation
5. Cosmocentric Conservation
6. Anthropocentric Transfiguration
Part II: Cosmocentric Transfiguration in the Theologies of Jürgen Moltmann and Andrew Linzey
7. Moltmann on God, Creation, and the Fall
8. Moltmann on Redemption and Mission
9. Moltmann’s Nonhuman Theological Ethics
10. Linzey on Creation, Fall, and Redemption
11. Linzey on Christ, the Spirit, and Anthropology
12. Linzey’s Cosmocentric Transfiguration
13. Moltmann and Linzey: Comparison and Analysis
Part III: Toward an Eco–Eschatological Ethics of Preservation and Protest
14. Theological Foundations for Cosmocentric Transfiguration
15. Possible Critiques of Cosmocentric Transfiguration
16. Cosmocentric Transfiguration: An Eco–Eschatological Ethics of Preservation and Protest
Conclusion: Cosmocentric Transfiguration as the “Best of Both Worlds”


"Ryan McLaughlin is the best of a new generation of rising animal theologians. He writes with great erudition and insight. I warmly recommend his work."
—Andrew Linzey
Oxford University
"Preservation and Protest is an erudite and thought-provoking book. Clearly written, well researched, and very creative, this insightful volume not only identifies many important issues in ecological theology and ethics, but also offers a thought-provoking alternative to the usual approaches. I highly recommend it."
—Steven Bouma-Prediger
Hope College

"In this thoughtful and wide-ranging book, the author tackles some of the pressing issues that have bothered those engaging in ecological ethics from a theological perspective for decades, presenting them in a fresh light. His integration of theological questions around other animals with ecological concern becomes filtered through core systematic perspectives on cosmology, anthropology, and eschatology, using classic and contemporary sources. McLaughlin weaves this critical analysis into an argument for a thesis that resists anthropocentrism and remains relatively undeveloped in the theological literature, namely, cosmocentric transfiguration. Jürgen Moltmann and Andrew Linzey are familiar figures in ecotheology and animal ethics but feature here as new bedfellows. This is a substantial book that deserves to be widely appreciated."
Celia Deane-Drummond
University of Notre Dame

"Ryan Patrick McLaughlin recognises that good ecotheological ethics can only arise out of honest tackling of big issues in the underlying theology. From very wide reading, he identifies key cruxes as being fallenness and eschatology. He also engages the too-little-considered tension between the interests of individual creatures and the values inhering in ecosystems. He has therefore made a useful contribution to a literature of great importance to contemporary Christian thought."
Christopher Southgate
University of Exeter
"Ryan Patrick McLaughlin offers the reader an excellent engagement with a number of key figures shaping a religious response to both general ecological challenges and concerns about animal species and suffering. He constructively engages the critically important work of Jürgen Moltmann and Andrew Linzey but also ranges widely to draw on the vision of Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Berry, and Maximus the Confessor to build a powerful case arguing that the Christian Church must develop an ethics dedicated to ecological preservation and protest against the practices that are currently pushing ecological degradation. His vision of a ‘cosmocentric transfiguration’ is powerful and inspiring."
William French
Loyola University Chicago 
"This very thoughtful study will reward anyone who reads in ecotheology. It is distinguished by an especially helpful series of questions that organize previous work in an innovative way and by its theological integration of animal ethics with ecological ethics."
Willis Jenkins
The University of Virginia

"This is a kairotic book. For one, the taxonomy of animal theologies provides desperately needed orientation to newcomers to literature that has exploded in the field in the last thirty years. More importantly, McLaughlin's constructive creational vision is a theological tour de force that gets us beyond the tired impasses erected by the ideological left and the political right. And to the many who have given up on the complex task of theodicy in our time, Preservation and Protest deftly addresses the questions related to animal suffering and death in an evolutionary world. The result is sure to be a ‘game changer’ in the current theological landscape."
Amos Yong
Fuller Theological Seminary

"The problem of animal suffering and the question of humankind’s responsibilities regarding nonhuman creatures were too long neglected as matters of theological concern. This new book is a valuable contribution to the repair of that neglect. In dialogue with diverse theological voices, McLaughlin develops a compelling Christian vision of hope for the transformation of the cosmos and an ethic that maintains a creative tension between the preservation of the natural world and protest against the evils to which it is subjected. This rich and provocative study should prove an invaluable point of departure for much future work."
Neil Messer
University of Winchester, UK

“As interest grows in theological perspectives on ecology and animals, both analytic and constructive theological work is necessary. McLaughlin here makes a substantial and well-informed contribution to both tasks, in a book that should be required reading for all those interested in the field.”
David Clough
University of Chester, UK