Naming, Understanding and Redeeming the A/Human Agencies with Which We Share Our World


  • Bronislaw Szerszynski Lancaster University



New Testament, technology


In this paper I argue that an important strand of ecotheology should be an articulated techno-demonology—an understanding of the ways that technologies increasingly confront us as indifferent or malign agencies. Drawing particularly on the New Testament language of spiritual agencies, I consider in turn three necessary components of techno-demonology. First, techno-demonology needs a taxonomic nomenclature, one which ‘names’ techno-demonological phenomena in a manner that reveals the specific ways in which the technologies can stand before us as autonomous powers. As a contribution to this task I distinguish between elementals (stoicheia) and powers (dynameis)—between technical systems which have become treated as ends in themselves, and have thus started to control human action, and technologies whose unanticipated side-effects overwhelm their intended purposes. Second, I suggest that techno-demonology should include an understanding of how such techno-demons arise; I thus give historical explanations for the proliferation of technological elementals and powers in the contemporary world. Finally, I argue that techno-demonology should include the redemptive task of restoring technology to its rightful place in creation.

Author Biography

Bronislaw Szerszynski, Lancaster University

Senior Lecturer, Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy, Furness College, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YG, UK


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How to Cite

Szerszynski, B. (2006). Techno-demonology: Naming, Understanding and Redeeming the A/Human Agencies with Which We Share Our World. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 11(1), 57–75.