Written By:

The work of the Center for Ecozoic Studies is grounded in the work of Thomas Berry

A summary of many of his ideas is available in The Ecozoic Journal 5 (2018), special issue on “The Ecozoic Way.”

Key Teachings

Thomas Berry’s primary teaching is that “the universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.”

In The Great Work,he gave two basic observations about human history. These are (1) the “central flaw” in human development is our “mode of consciousness that has established a radical discontinuity between the human and other modes of being and [has bestowed] all rights on the humans”; and (2) “[t]he historical mission of our times is to reinvent the human—at the species level, with critical reflection, within the community of life systems, in a time-developmental context, by means of story and shared dream experience.”

Key Writings and Resources

Berry’s three key works are: The Dream of the Earth (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1988); The Universe Story (co-authored with Brian Swimme) (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992); and The Great Work (New York: Bell Tower, 1999). The Great Work may provide the best introduction to Berry’s work for new readers. The Dream of the Earth is important as the original, and most comprehensive, statement of Berry’s thought.

Additional essays by Berry are contained in Evening Thoughts, ed. Mary Evelyn Tucker (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 2006); The Christian Future and the Fate of the Earth, eds. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2009); Sacred Universe, ed. Mary Evelyn Tucker (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009); and Thomas Berry: Selected Writings on the Earth Community (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2014). A dialogue between Berry and Thomas Clarke, SJ, was published as Befriending Creation (Mystic CT: 23rd Publications, 1991).

Early versions of many of Berry’s published essays are contained in Riverdale Papers, 11 Volumes. Berry’s work on Earth jurisprudence is covered in Evening Thoughts.

Anne-Marie Dalton’s, A Theology for the Earth: The Contributions of Thomas Berry and Bernard Lonergan (1999) gives an intellectual biography of Thomas Berry.

A series of essays on Berry’s work was published as Heather Eaton, ed., The Intellectual Journey of Thomas Berry (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2014).

CES published A Tribute to Thomas Berry in 2009 (Ecozoic Journal, No. 2), which contained 151 tributes to Thomas Berry by many of the people who were closest to him; and Thomas Berry’s Work: Development, Difference, Importance, Applications in 2017 (Ecozoic Journal, No. 4), which contained twenty-seven essays based on presentations made at an academic colloquium with the same name held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2014.

A biography written by Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and Andrew Angyal titled Thomas Berry: A Biography will be published by Columbia University Press in 2019.

The Thomas Berry Archive is maintained in Environmental Science and Public Policy Archives, Harvard College Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Additional information on Thomas Berry is available at www.ThomasBerry.org.