Original Research - Special Collection: Johan Buitendag Festschrift

In which time and world do we live?

Toine van den Hoogen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 2 | a8637 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i2.8637 | © 2023 Toine van den Hoogen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 March 2023 | Published: 06 July 2023

About the author(s)

Toine van den Hoogen, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Nederlands; and, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


This article contributed to a project about Nature and Theology (Prof. Dr. J. Buitendag). The text questioned why our modern concept of nature must be reformulated in a contemporary concept of nature as the anthropocentrism of the modern concept of nature is criticised by a growing knowledge about the cohesion of many phenomena in the evolution of life on planet Earth. This criticism confronts theologians with fundamental deficiencies in their ongoing anthropological approach of life, especially human life. The article looked for a reinterpretation of mystical texts of Gregory of Nyssa in order to question whether this offers a new framework of a theological approach of a contemporary concept of nature.

Contribution: Within the project about Nature and Theology new questions arise as the concept of Nature has to be reformulated based on new insights in the evolution of life. Within the debates about the Anthropocene, the planet Earth is approached as being a living reality in one way or another. So theologians have to look for new theological approaches as well. This article suggested that concepts of Gregory of Nyssa contribute in this respect.


anthropology; Anthropocene; Gaia-hypothesis; mysticism; Gregory of Nyssa.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 13: Climate action


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