Thomas Berry: Biography

Thomas Berry’s WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE MEADOW from a review of the first biography of `geologian’ Thomas Berry Thomas Berry: A Biography  – Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim & Andrew Angyal – Columbia University Press, 2019  ISBN: 9780231548793

Thomas Berry (1914-2009) was one of those rare and wonderful people who completely change the vision of their time. A biography of him offers not only a mesmerising insight into the essence of Berry’s own story, but also an outstanding example of how to write about a life. What is so inspiring about this biography is that it shows us Berry’s personal story continually evolving, deepening and expanding with each new endeavour, until it becomes at one with the evolving story of the Universe. Thomas had to transform his identity at every stage of his life. He moved gradually but steadily from his small self to his great self …always moving towards becoming a cosmic person.” Berry would often say with a twinkle in his eye that this was all because he fell in love with a meadow, He believed that “good is what is good for the meadow.”

He initiated a unique programme, History of Religions, and finally achieved an integration of his brilliant scholarship with his cosmological vision in the founding of the Riverdale Center for Religious Research, where he placed human and Earth history within a universe story.” His monumental books include The Dream of the Earth, The Universe Story and The Great Work.

In a talk called Every Being Has Rights, he explored the idea that natural rights come from the same source as human rights, from the universe that brought us all into being. It followed from this that existing human-oriented laws had to be transformed to include the whole Earth community, of which humans are only a part. He called this Earth Jurisprudence. By now he was calling himself not a theologian, but a `geologian’, pointing to the “grand liturgy of the universe” as sacred in itself, beyond any and all categories of faith His poems, which he recited out of doors with upraised arms, he would dedicate to “all the children of the universe”.

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