On Thomas Berry

Thomas Berry

Thomas Berry’s The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-first Century is now available. The excitement and interest about a new work from Berry is of course tempered by the sadness of his death earlier this summer. Mary Evelyn Tucker, who edited The Sacred Universe, wrote a very moving tribute to Berry upon the occasion of his death in yes! magazine.

Tucker, a colleague and friend for more than four decades, describes Berry’s professional accomplishments, including being director of the Riverdale Center of Religious Research and being a co-founder of the Asian Thought and Religion Seminar at Columbia. She also writes about his remarkable personal and intellectual attributes and the inspiration he provided to others. Here is a brief excerpt from Tucker’s piece:

With Thomas another future is possible for the Earth community, and he empowers us to engage in the great work of imagining that future. In a time saturated with false promises and misplaced hopes amidst ecological destruction and economic unraveling, his steady evocation of an emerging Ecozoic era ignites human energy in vibrant and unexpected ways.

Thomas, in his brown corduroy coat, year after year while teaching at Fordham University and beyond, called us into the vast sweep of evolutionary dynamics. He lit up our imagination with a story of universe emergence from star birth and galaxy formation to life on Earth.

But there was more. Thomas wove us into the story—seeing us as beings who are biologically and historically grounded. He understood us as arising out of an immense journey of Earth and universe. He helped us to see our connections from the microcosm to the macrocosm, from the great flaring forth to the beauty of flowers and seeds, fish and birds. Thomas’ enduring appreciation for the communion of subjects in this process is something that has profoundly reshaped our minds and hearts.

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