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Making Nature SacredLiterature, Religion, and the Environment in America from the Puritans to the Present$
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John Gatta

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195165050

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195165055.001.0001

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Post-Darwinian Visions of Divine Creation

Post-Darwinian Visions of Divine Creation

(p.143) 7 Post-Darwinian Visions of Divine Creation
Making Nature Sacred

John Gatta (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, Darwinism had a varied impact on American sensibilities. John Muir, for example, studied science and accepted the transmutative premise of evolutionary theory--but retained a biblically colored piety that saw God’s presence inscribed “in magnificent capitals” at places like Yosemite. During this extended period, writings by Mary Austin and Black Elk reflect their encounters with versions of naturalistic piety lying outside Euro-American ethnic traditions. Still, the written form in which Black Elk expressed his ecological vision of holiness, as imaged in the great hoop of the Lakota nation, was decidedly influenced by his contact with non-Indian culture. Although Rachel Carson was a committed scientist whose work presupposed belief in organic evolution, her writing also reflects a robust spirituality founded upon reverence for life and for the mystery of things unseen.

Keywords:   evolution, Darwinism, John Muir, Mary Austin, Black Elk, Rachel Carson, reverence, Yosemite, Lakota

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