Interdependence and the Biblical Legacy of Anthropocentrism: On Human Destructiveness and Human Responsibility

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article engages with the biblical legacy of anthropomorphism from a contemporary perspective. First, it revisits the biblical creation myth and questions the deeply ingrained notion that what it offers is an account of ‘creation out of nothingness.’ Second, this rereading is followed by a closer look at how this particular theology was elaborated by Hans Jonas in his philosophy of life. In the final part of the paper, Jonas’s philosophy of responsibility is linked to a reflection on humanity’s unique capacity for destruction and self-destruction. Contrary to much of contemporary posthumanism, it is argued that a recognition of the interdependence between the human and the non-human worlds must never be a matter of erasing the distinction between them, since such a blurring of distinctions runs the risk of overshadowing the uniqueness of human destructiveness and thereby of undermining a serious discussion of human responsibility.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Religious Studies


  • interdependence, anthropocentrism, responsibility, Hans Jonas, Genesis, creation myth, posthumanism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35–47
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch