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Life Is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition

Berry, Wendell

873 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1582430586 / ISBN 13: 9781582430584
Published by Counterpoint, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., 2000
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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Incscribed, "For Jeff, 6/3/00, Wendell Berry," on the title page. Edges of dust jacket slight worn. April SALE -- Prices shown are 20% off throughout the month. Bookseller Inventory # 110942

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Life Is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern ...

Publisher: Counterpoint, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Inscribed By Author

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


Disputes the assertations of E.O. Wilson's Consilience, claiming that religion and art are not subject to modern science.


As a poet, novelist, and farmer, Wendell Berry has worked and written in favor of tried and tested ways, rejecting the notion that the modern is always to be preferred over the old. Technology may have its uses, he has insisted in books like The Gift of Good Land, but what matters more is the crafting of sound human communities and of self-reliant living. Religious faith lies at the heart of Berry's unapologetically old-fashioned program. Faith, which supposes that life is full of unpredictable mysteries, stands against much of modern science, an opposition that Berry explores in Life Is a Miracle. Taking particular issue with entomologist E.O. Wilson's recent book, Consilience, which maintains the supremacy of scientific explanation over religious conjecture and supposes that science will one day be able to answer every question about the hows and whys of life, Berry revisits C.P. Snow's "two cultures" thesis to observe that science and religion address different kinds of necessary questions. "Science cannot replace art or religion," he writes, "for the same reason that you cannot loosen a nut with a saw or cut a board in two with a wrench." Against science's "false specification and pretentious exactitude," Berry notes quietly that the more he observes his own little corner of the planet, a small Kentucky farm, the less patient he is with reductionist, materialist explanations of the way things work--for here, and everywhere, "life ... is unique, given to the world minute by minute, only once, never to be repeated."

Berry's slender essay offers a thoughtful repudiation of an increasingly technological--and, some would say, soulless--culture. --Gregory McNamee

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