When we consider Homo sapiens
in his environment, there are certain constants and certain variables to be considered. The variables mostly have to do with his environment, and the modern world has confronted him with changes in the conditions of that environment so radical as to defy comparison with those of any other age. The constants (for those of us who are not materialists) are the realities of his kinship with the beasts and his ineradicable desire for transcendence, for participation in divine life. Unless we are Gnostics, we must admit the inevitability of the impact of environment on human nature, and therefore ponder our own remarkable age. The nine essays contained in this book provoke us to do just that. Allison, a biblical scholar with interests ranging from science and literature to popular culture, asks us to take note of uniquely modern conditions so pervasive as to be invisible: the separation of most of us from the natural world, the absence of silence, the availability of artificial light, the attention to celebrity rather than heroism or sanctity, the multiplication of distraction, the impoverishment of the imagination. In prose elegant yet precise, and the use of ancient and modern sources astonishing in breadth, we are unrelentingly called to pay attention, to wonder, and finally to choose between an existence of numb mediocrity or divine ascent. 176 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
For millennia humans knew the stars as well as we know our own backyards. Yet today many if not most of us have lost vital connections with our natural world, and so have in many ways lost our sense of wonder. In the thoughtful, genre-bending nonfiction tradition of Wendell Berry and Walker Percy, Dale Allison explores the loss of wonder in Western society. Mining insights from sources as diverse as ancient creation myths and contemporary children's books, he highlights our ongoing disconnect from the cosmos, tracing its undeniable spiritual and philosophical impact. The Luminous Dusk is an elegant, lyrical call to seek the stillness of God in our clamorous world.