Rulers or Servants?: A Re-Reading of Psalm 8 Concerning the Place of Humankind in the Age of the Anthropocene

  • Tiana Bosman
Keywords: Anthropocene, Psalm 8, Creation psalm, Ecological hermeneutics, Green reading


With the Age of the Anthropocene and the clear signs of ecological destruction that have resulted from this rule of humans over the creation of God, it is essential that biblical scholars revisit the texts, both in the Old and the New Testament, that have so often been used to justify the superior position of humans over creation. Within communities of faith and also within academic circles, the well-known Psalm 8 has often been used to underscore the role of mankind as rulers over creation. Coming from the field of biblical studies, I endeavour to do a re-reading of this Psalm that highlights the importance of an attitude of awe and humility rather than superiority. This will be done through in-depth exegesis of the psalm and will aim to offer a translation that accentuates a life-affirming attitude towards creation while still staying true to the text. Through exegesis, I will offer translation possibilities, hoping to provide hermeneutical tools for ministers who find themselves on the front line of preaching and teaching communities of faith about what it means to be responsible stewards and servants of the earth in crisis, instead of depleting and destroying her resources through arrogant domination.
Planetary Entanglement: Theology and the Anthropocene