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In Love with the Desert: Erosion, Mirage, and Oasis in the Early Christian Contemplative Tradition


Abstract for Online Program Book (maximum 1200 characters including spaces)

The desert Christians of late antiquity model lives that drew on the wisdom gained through contemplation of the natural world and the desert phenomena of erosion, mirage, and oasis. This paper investigates the wisdom of early Christian contemplative experience for what it offers people living in a time of COVID crisis and climate crisis. Through examination of how desert Christians expressed love for and experienced the desert's love, I argue that a kind of creaturely continuity with desert spaces and kin may emerge from our own contemplative practices and contribute to the restoration of places subject to desertification and of our own inner ecologies marked by devastation.