Congratulations to Professor Glenn Peers on the publication of his new book written with Virginia Burrus and Thomas Arentzen: Byzantine Tree Life: Christianity and the Arboreal Imagination (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).
According to Professor Peers, “this collaborative work came out of a shared interest in the ecologies of the ancient and byzantine worlds, and how those ecologies made the divine more present and comprehensible to humans. But it is really about how trees in particular figured and lived as uncanny models for that presence. The book is a reaction to our own forced withdrawal in 2020, when trees were so much more there and alive to us than they had been.”
Byzantine Tree Life: Christianity and the Arboreal Imagination is described on the Palgrave Macmillan web site as follows: “This book examines the many ways Byzantines lived with their trees. It takes seriously theological and hagiographic tree engagement as expressions of that culture’s deep involvement—and even fascination—with the arboreal. These pages tap into the current attention paid to plants in a wide range of scholarship, an attention that involves the philosophy of plant life as well as scientific discoveries of how communicative trees may be, and how they defend themselves. Considering writings on and images of trees from Late Antiquity and medieval Byzantium sympathetically, the book argues for an arboreal imagination at the root of human aspirations to know and draw close to the divine.”