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Verbum et Ecclesia

On-line version ISSN 2074-7705
Print version ISSN 1609-9982


BUITENDAG, Johan. What is in a name? Does the difference between onto-theology and theo-ontology direct the way from eco-theology to theo-ecology? Specific Russian theological perspectives. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2022, vol.43, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 2074-7705.

I approach this venture of figuring out the correct terminology to understand reality through the prism of two distinctive Russian Orthodox theologians, Pavel Florensky (1882-1937) and Sergius Bulgakov (1871-1944). The lens I apply mainly to their works is their respective understanding of cosmology, that is, ontology and epistemology. Therefore, I concur with Grenz to abandon the term 'onto-theology' and qualify the inverse as a Trinitarian theo-ontology. This honours the intimate connection between knowing and being, and prevents the bifurcation between fidelity and rationality. Mutatis mutandis, the same applies to 'eco-theology'. This inversion reminds one of Hans-Urs von Balthasar, who bartered the concept of an aesthetic theology for theological aesthetics. Turning this question around would advance our dialogue with the sciences as the common denominator of the discourse is rather nature (creation) discerned from an acknowledged a priori (as all cognition do). In other words, the term theo-ecology is proposed. INTRADISCIPLINARY AND/OR INTERDISCIPLINARY IMPLICATIONS: The purpose study is not ecological but rather an asyndetic use of the terminology about the science and religion dialogue, with reference to the nomenclature of ecology and theology. All observation terms and sentences are theory-laden. Religion can be viewed as a linguistic framework that shapes the entirety of life and thought. Truth claims should focus on the grammar (or rules of the game) and not the lexicon when expressive symbolism is employed.

Keywords : ontology; epistemology; ecology; 'science & religion dialogue'; 'faith seeking understanding'; ecotheology; Russian Silver Age; theo-ontology.

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