Title page for ETD etd-01172008-144900

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Manning, Ernest Nathan
Author's Email Address emanni1@lsu.edu
URN etd-01172008-144900
Title Ancient Greek and Ancient Hebrew Agrarianism: An Ecocritical Study of Hesiod's Works and Days and the Book of Proverbs
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Comparative Literature (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Greg Stone Committee Chair
Alexandre Leupin Committee Member
Bainard Cowan Committee Member
  • Hesiod
  • Proverbs
  • Archaic Greece
  • Judges Period
  • agrarianism
  • Wendell Berry
  • ecocriticism
Date of Defense 2007-10-26
Availability unrestricted
The subject of this thesis revolves around the “Western” view of nature and its social

origins. The author advances the subject through a comparison of two ancient texts:

Hesiod’s Works and Days and the Old Testament book of Proverbs. He concludes that

the Western view of nature gestated in agricultural societies of small-farmers who saw

themselves as being both part of and separate from the natural world. Their ability to

control nature being limited, they saw civilization as fulfilling a limited agricultural role

in the cosmos, as being different but part of and not controlling the whole.

In the last chapter, the author moves to discussing the forces at play within the Western

view of nature that have resulted in the environmental situation of the twenty-first

century. The author advances that a view of the physical realm as secondary, or degraded

vis-à-vis the realm of the intellect entered Christianity through Platonic philosophy, and

therefore is not original to the Western view of nature. Furthermore, he contends that the

original interaction of Western man with nature was through physical work, and that both

Platonic philosophy and modern science have influenced this original relationship.

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