Shuck and Jive

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Appreciation for Thomas Berry

Today is one of sadness and appreciation as we mourn the death of
Thomas Berry. This was posted on his website:

Dear friends,

We wanted you to know that Thomas Berry passed away early on the morning of June 1st at Wellspring home where he had been living in Greensboro, North Carolina. He died peacefully and with family at his side. Fortunately we were visiting with him just 10 days ago. He was our beloved teacher and friend. Because of his insight and understanding of the religions of the world we were inspired to carry his work forward in the Forum on Religion and Ecology.

An article was published in the National Catholic Reporter:

There is also further information and a longer biography.

Thomas Berry was born in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1914. From his academic beginnings as a historian of world cultures and religions, Berry developed into a historian of the Earth and its evolutionary processes. He describes himself as a "geologian."

Berry received his Ph.D. in European Intellectual History with a thesis on Giambattista Vico's philosophy of history. Widely read in Western history, he also spent many years studying the cultural history of Asia. He lived in China and traveled to other parts of Asia. He authored two books on Asian religions, Buddhism and Religions of India (distributed by Columbia University Press).

For two decades, he directed the Riverdale Center of Religious Research along the Hudson River. During this period he taught at Fordham University where he chaired the history of religions program and directed 25 doctoral theses. His major contributions to the discussion on the environment are in his books The Dream of the Earth (Sierra Club Books, 1988 reprinted, 2006), The Great Work: Our Way into the Future (Random House, 1999) and, with Brian Swimme, The Universe Story (Harper San Francisco, 1992). His latest collection of essays is Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community (Sierra Club Books and University of California Press, 2006).

This August two more books of his essays will be published: The Sacred Universe (Columbia University) and The Christian Future and the Fate of Earth (Orbis Books).

He has been a great gift in our lives - and in many others' as well. His warmth, humor, and insight have enhanced so many gatherings and his writings will remain as a remarkable legacy of a brilliant mind.

We will be at the funeral celebration of his life in Greensboro on Wednesday, June 3rd. Thomas will be buried at the Green Mountain Monastery in Greensboro, Vermont on June 8th. We are also planning a memorial service in New York this September at the Cathedral of St John the Divine where Paul Winter will play and Brian Swimme and others will speak. We will keep you posted on this.

His family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations can be made in his memory to:

The Thomas Berry Foundation
c/o Mary Evelyn Tucker & John Grim
29 Spoke Drive
Woodbridge, CT 06525

SO many beautiful tributes are coming from across North America and around the world, suggesting that today marks a new beginning for carrying on the "great work" he began.

With our warm wishes,
Mary Evelyn & John
I made a couple of posts about Thomas Berry.
Meaning of Life, Part 10
Earth As Sacred Community

See more at Rev's Rumbles.

1 comment:

  1. Rest in peace Thomas Berry, o wise and gracious steward of the earth and of earth's creatures.

    He was brilliant. I once knew a nun who left her order to go and live with a group of religious determined to follow what Berry taught. I always wondered what happened to her.