Henry David Thoreau is best known as a writer, naturalist, and social critic, but he was also a schoolteacher, surveyor, and pencil-maker. In The Gospel According to This Moment, Unitarian minister Barry M. Andrews reveals how an idiosyncratic and unconventional religious faith was central to Thoreau’s many-faceted life—a dimension that has been largely unexamined.
Through close readings of his writings and a focus on his Unitarian upbringing, Harvard education, mentoring by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and immersion in ancient Eastern and Western philosophies, Andrews explores the nature of Thoreau’s spiritual message, what he called the “Gospel according to this moment,” which enables a flourishing and deliberate life. Today, Thoreau is widely recognized as an advocate for simple living, environmental preservation, and civil disobedience. As Andrews uncovers, Thoreau is also a spiritual guide who can teach us an alternative way of being religious in the world.
Introduction 1. Becoming Henry David Thoreau 2. The Art of Life 3. Of Time and the River 4. Beginning to Live 5. After Walden 6. Years of Decision 7. Excursions 8. Pilgrimage
BARRY M. ANDREWS, a retired minister, is author of several books, including American Sage: The Spiritual Teachings of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“Andrews provides a strong argument for Thoreau’s deep spirituality as the center of his thought and conviction. This book will make a significant contribution to Thoreau’s standing as a teacher of spirituality.”—David M. Robinson, author of Natural Life: Thoreau's Worldly Transcendentalism
“Accessibly written, thoroughly researched, and persuasive, with a consistent focus on religion. The Gospel According to This Moment has a clear place within the crowded forest of Thoreauvian scholarship.”—Dan McKanan, author of Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition
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