The Cycle of Life:
An History of Experimental Ecology

Divinity Library
Sterling Memorial
Manuscripts & Archives
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Case 3

Church of England, The Book of Common Prayer: An edition containing proposals and suggestions compiled by John Neale Dalton, Canon of Windsor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1920).

The "Order for the Burial of the Dead" in the Book of Common Prayer we can see an early theological view of the "cycle of life." Drawing on St. John, the Order begins: "I am the resurrection and the life saith the Lord: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die." (St. John II 25, 26.) When the burial procession comes to the grave and the body is prepared to be laid into the earth, the Priest shall say "Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live and is full of misery ... In the midst of life we are in death." While the earth shall be cast upon the body, the Priest shall say "Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his wise providence to take unto himself the soul of our dear departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life."

Case 1
  William Paley, Natural Theology, 1794
  Carl Linnaeus, Nemesis Divina, 1758
  George Gregory, The Economy of Nature, 1804
Case 2
  Vladimir Vernadsky, Biosphere and Noosphere, 1939
  Pierre Teilard de Chardin, Human Energy, 1969
  Pierre Teilard de Chardin, The Heart of Matter, 1978
Case 3
  John Neale Dalton, The Book of Common Prayer, 1920
  Joan Halifax, The Fruitful Darkness, 1993
  Hans Dirk van Hoogstraten, Deep Economy, 2001
  Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan, The Garden of
Microbial Delights
, 1993
  Nina Witoszek and Andrew Brennan, eds., Philosophical Dialogues, 1999
  Roger S. Gottlieb, ed., This
Sacred Earth
, 2004
Lloyd Ackert
Whitney Humanities Center
Yale University
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