Rabbi Yonatan Neril, co-author of Eco Bible, shares insights after publishing volume one on Genesis and Exodus. In an interview with ’15 Minutes To Go’ podcast host Anna Bakhash, he discusses different verses in the Hebrew Bible that relate to sustainability.
What can the Bible say about ecology? As people face huge ecological challenges—including growing hurricanes, floods, forest fires, and plastic pollution—the groundbreaking Eco Bible dives into this question. Drawing on 3,500 years of religious ethics, it shows how the Bible itself and its great scholars embrace care for God’s creation as a fundamental and living message. Eco Bible both informs the reader and inspires spiritual commitment and action to protect all of God’s creation.
This ‘earth Bible’ is a great read for those interested in Jewish and Christian social issues. It also represents an important contribution to eco theology, and to the spiritual ecology movement.
Publishers Weekly called the book an “”insightful analysis,”” which “”will inspire contemplation on how to live in harmony with nature and the power of conservation. Ecologically minded readers interested in the Hebrew Bible will love this.””
Volume 1 explores Genesis and Exodus; Volume 2 (2021) explores Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Together they cover 450 verses in the Five Books of Moses / Pentateuch / Old Testament. By linking faith and science, the book connects religion with contemporary scientific thought regarding human health, biodiversity, and clean air, land, and water.
Dr. Bill Brown, Professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, calls Eco Bible “a rich repository of insights…for people of faith to move forward with wisdom, inspiration, and hope, all for the sake of God’s good creation.”
Eco Bible reveals what Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet calls “the ever-increasing number of fresh understandings of the Bible’s verses,”” while quoting over 100 rabbis from Biblical times to the present. Until now, their ecological insights on the Bible could only be found scattered across hundreds of books.
Applying Biblical ethics to stewardship, conservation, and creation care is not just an idea for today, but is essential for a future where we live in balance and thrive on a planet that remains viable for all life. At a time of both ecological and spiritual crisis, an ecological reading of the Bible can have profound impact on human behavior, since billions of people worldwide consider it a holy book.
This green Bible commentary affirms a spiritually grounded vision for long-term sustainability and immediate environmental mindfulness and action, including many suggested action items. Eco Bible uniquely explores the Bible’s deep inspiration for fulfilling the blessing of all life, changing course to preserve God’s creation, and sustaining human life in harmony with nature and all God’s creatures.
Rabbis Yonatan Neril and Leo Dee are co-editors and lead contributors.