If Creation Is a Gift

By Mark Manolopoulos

Subjects: Religion, Philosophy, Theology, Continental Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Theology and Continental Thought
Paperback : 9780791493946, 198 pages, January 2010
Hardcover : 9780791493939, 198 pages, March 2009

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

What If?
1. Creation-Gift-Aporia
2. A Brief History of Gifts
3. Unwrapping Marion’s Gift
4. Oscillation
5. Toward an Oscillational Eco-Ethos
After Thought

Brings an ecotheological perspective to postmodern gift theory.


What if our world were considered a gift? Extending postmodern gift theory to ecological and ecotheological concerns, Mark Manolopoulos explores how "creation"—the what-is—can be seen as a gift. Creation, when viewed in a radically egalitarian way, is the matrix of all material things—human, otherwise-than-human, or humanly manufactured. Utilizing and critiquing the work of Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion, Manolopoulos argues that the gift is an irresolvable paradox marked by the contradictory elements of excess (gratuity, linearity) and exchange (gratitude, return). Philosophical and theological reflections on the gift become entangled in its paradoxical tension, but ultimately both aspects must be respected and reflected. When it comes to the creation-gift, we should vacillate between responses like letting-be, enjoyment, utility, and return. Elegantly written and thought-provoking, If Creation Is a Gift both contributes to the ongoing debate on the gift and provides a fresh philosophical and theological consideration of the environmental crisis.

Mark Manolopoulos is Honorary Research Associate with Monash University's Centre for Studies in Religion and Theology.


"…Manolopoulos' text stimulates reflective thought concerning many aspects of the relational implications of giving in both inter-human and ecological ethical terms. As such, its consideration of creation as a gift is well poised to foster creativity in a reader, making careful reflection on Manolopoulos' insights, as presented in this book, a valuable activity." — Studies in Religion

"This is a thoughtful and well-written book, touching on both philosophy and theology. Manolopoulos provides an elegant introduction to the concept of the gift and to some relevant dimensions of Marion's philosophy for environmental theology." — Religious Studies Review

"This is a brilliant application of theological debate concerning the gift, for those interested in contemporary environmental ethics." — CHOICE