The Two Books of Scripture:
The Bible, Creation, & the Sacredness of All Things
An Online Retreat by
Father Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D.
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Ask the animals, and they will teach you;
the birds of the air, and they will tell you;
ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the LORD has done this?
~ Job 12:7-9
From its most ancient roots, Christianity has held that there are Two Books of Scripture: the little book of the Bible and the big book of Creation. The manner in which these “books” were interpreted in the early church was the same. The words of Holy Writ and the innumerable forms of plant and animal life were understood to have inherent symbolic and allegorical value. When the psalms reference Jerusalem, for example, Christians interpreted not just a city in ancient Israel, but an allegorical reference to heaven, the church, and even the human heart where God dwelled intimately. Likewise in creation, a dove did not merely represent a common avian species, but symbolized hope and the presence of the Holy Spirit. In the modern era, with the rise of science and the age of reason, both books of scripture were reduced to their surface meaning, deprived of their deeper spiritual connotations. In scripture this manifested as biblical literalism, while in nature it manifested as reducing the inherent value of creatures to whether or not they were valuable to humanity. Both of these interpretive shifts have had devastating consequences for our spiritual lives and our planet – now on the brink of ecological collapse. In this workshop-retreat Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, PhD, will guide participants toward a deeper appreciation of the Two Books tradition and the contemplative readings that underlie it. Through presentations and meditative exercises on both books of scripture, we will recover ancient spiritual resources for the modern ecological crisis to which we are urgently called to attend.
Father Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D. is Professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Mysticism in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. As an Episcopal priest Vincent also serves as Vicar of St. Columba’s Episcopal Church and Retreat House in Inverness, California. Working for the advancement of contemplative Christianity, he has reinvigorated the mission and ministry of St. Columba’s through the introduction of contemplative eucharistic liturgies, public lectures, online courses, directed retreats, thought provoking sermons, an online blog and a weekly online study of his book through the Meditation Chapel. His latest book, entitled Contemplating Christ: The Gospels and the Interior Life, seeks to bring his readers into a lived realization of the Christian doctrine of deification – that is, the affirmation that through the Incarnation, we have all be made partakers of the Divine Nature.