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Steven Bouma-Prediger Co-Edits
Book on Theology and Ecology

Posted September 11, 2000

HOLLAND -- Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger of the Hope College religion faculty has co-edited a collection of writings by Joseph Sittler that consider theology, ecology and ethics.

Bouma-Prediger and Peter Bakken, who is a research fellow at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, based near Mancelona northeast of Traverse City, are co- editors of "Evocations of Grace: Writings on Ecology, Theology, and Ethics," published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. of Grand Rapids/Cambridge.

Sittler, who lived from 1904 to 1987, was a Lutheran theologian who wrote about the need to think about "a theology for earth," calling for "ecological commitment as theological responsibility." Gathering 10 of Sittler's works, "Evocations of Grace" conveys his argument for the connection between Christian theology, ethics and the natural world.

The book also includes a comprehensive Sittler biography and essays by Bouma-Prediger and Bakken that assess Sittler's pioneering contribution to environmental ethics. According to the two co-editors, Sittler's work continues to shape current eco-theological reflection.

Sittler was a professor of biblical theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School. After retiring in 1973, he served as Distinguished Theologian in Residence at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.

Bouma-Prediger is an associate professor of religion at Hope, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1994. "Evocations of Grace" is his third book concerning ecology and theology, and follows "The Greening of Theology: The Ecological Models of Rosemary Radford Ruether, Joseph Sittler, and Jurgen Moltmann" (Scholars Press, 1995) and, with Virginia Vroblesky, "Assessing the Ark: A Christian Perspective on Nonhuman Creatures and the Endangered Species Act" (Crossroads, 1997). Two other books are forthcoming: "Caring for Creation" (Baker, 2001) and "Beyond Homelessness" (Eerdmans, 2001).

For many years, he led wilderness backpacking and canoeing trips, a practice he continues for a Hope May Term course that he teaches on ecological theology and ethics in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. He is a member of numerous professional societies, as well as the Evangelical Environmental Network and the Christian Environmental Council.

He was elected the recipient of the college's Hope Outstanding Professor-Educator (H.O.P.E.) Award by the graduating Class of 1999, and invited to deliver the college's Commencement address by the graduating Class of 1998. In 1994, while on the faculty of North Park College, where he chaired the philosophy department, he was given the Student Association Service Award and named to the "Chicago Tribune's" All-Star Professor Team for Chicago-area colleges.

He has also taught at Fuller Theological Seminary, Toronto School of Theology, Western Theological Seminary and in the Global Stewardship Study Program at Jaguar Creek in Belize. A 1979 Hope graduate, he holds an M.Phil. from the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ontario; an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary; and a doctorate from the University of Chicago.

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