James Nash as Christian Deep Ecologist

Forging a New Eco-theology for the Third Millennium


  • Bernard Daley Zaleha University of Californai, Santa Cruz




Theology, biodiversity, deep ecology


The Wesleyan Quadrilateral, first explicated by Albert Outler, understands Christian doctrine as grounded in biblical scripture, church tradition, personal experience and reason, with scripture as the primary guide but in dialogue with the other three. In his article, James Nash inverted the Quadrilateral to give primacy to reason and experience, with experience expanded to include all available empirical data, receiving inspiration from scripture and tradition so long as they do not contradict the conclusions necessarily drawn from a rational reflection upon all experience, including empirical data as interpreted by science. From this inverted Quadrilateral, Nash concludes that the massive, anthropogenic losses to biodiversity ‘matter morally, not primarily because these other species are instrumental values for human needs and wants, but rather because these species are goods for themselves—intrinsic values—that humans ought to respect’. In so concluding, Nash created a Christian Deep Ecology that respects the intrinsic value of all creation.


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How to Cite

Zaleha, B. D. (2009). James Nash as Christian Deep Ecologist: Forging a New Eco-theology for the Third Millennium. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 3(2), 279–289. https://doi.org/10.1558/jsrnc.v3i2.279