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Anti-human Theology

Peter Manley Scott offers a theological and ethical reading of our present situation. Due to the vigour of its re-engineering of the world by its technologies, western society has entered into a postnatural condition in which standard divisions between the natural and the artificial are no longer convincing. This postnatural development is liberating - both theologically and politically. Scott develops an 'anthropology' that does not repeat Christianity's history of anthropocentrism but instead criticises it by exploring the mutual entanglement of animals, humans and other creatures. Deeply disrespectful of traditional centres of power, his ethical critiques of 'pioneering' technologies expose their anti-social and anti-ecological tendencies and identify possible paths of oppositional political action. This is ethical theology at its best: deeply informed by theological tradition, immersed in contemporary political-technological problematics in radically oppositional ways, and yet fiercely hopeful of a good outcome for animals - human and non-human - and other life in history.
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About the Author

Dr Peter Manley Scott is Senior Lecturer in Christian Social Thought and Director of the Lincoln Theological Institute at the University of Manchester, UK.


'In this sophisticated reconceptualization of "nature," Peter Scott assesses major alternative theories, then offers a compelling new proposal, a "sacramental theology of technology". Scott's most original insight is human nature's inevitably technological hybridity, which is as such open to divine goodness and divine transformation. This book is a brilliant challenge to standard modes of theo-political discourse, one sure to stimulate new ways of imagining the contemporary human situation.'Lisa Sowle Cahill, Boston College, USA 'Despite the deep impact that technical artefacts and systems have had on life, competent reflections on them and on homo faber are few and far between. Peter Manley Scott rises to the challenge and offers a multifaceted, sophisticated and constructive critique. He takes discussions about human-centred thinking and ecocentrism to a new level, carefully examining the dominant but not always life-enhancing concepts of the human as well as of nature and politics and creatively replacing them with open proposals, many of which are rooted in classical theology. Humans emerge as being created by and as givers of the gift of life rather than as rulers over it. In this ground-breaking book, Scott makes a vital contribution to a necessary exodus out of enslaving modes of thinking about nature.' Sigurd Bergmann, Trondheim, Norway. 'Peter Scott takes discourse on an ecological anthropology and Christian humanism to a new level through the provocative notions of an "anti-human" theology and the "postnatural condition". He moves beyond the critiques of human superiority and domination, alienation from being "at home on earth" and anthropocentrism by insisting that what is human can only be considered in terms of human "attachments". The impact of current technologies suggests that former distinctions - between the human and the non-human and the natural and the artificial - no longer hold. 'Ernst M. Conradie, University of the Western Cape, South Africa.

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