The land as sacrament: Wendell Berry's prophetic vision

Date of Completion

January 1998


Religion, General|Literature, American




The dissertation begins with a survey of this contemporary nature writer's social and environmental criticism, focusing specifically on the moral indignation Berry often expresses there. The study proceeds to weigh important similarities between Berry's outrage and that expressed in Biblical prophecy, using this comparison to formulate a working definition of the prophetic idiom that comprehends both. Of primary importance in this definition are the concomitant themes of denunciation and consolation which the prophet typically declaims. By exploring the influence of the prophetic tradition on Berry's essays and poetry, especially in the recurrence of these two important themes, the dissertation establishes the author's distinctiveness within--as well as the influence of the prophetic idiom on--the genre of nature writing. ^