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One year ago: Thomas Berry

Berry Today we begin a regular feature on Afterword: looking back at a prominent figure who died one year ago.

Our first subject is Thomas Berry, a cultural historian and specialist in Asian religions who became a leading thinker on religion and the environment.

Berry died June 1, 2009, at age 94. He had been in failing health in recent years after suffering two strokes.

From the obituary by Jon Thurber that appeared in The Times:

Calling the universe God's "primary revelation," Berry wrote in his book "The Dream of the Earth" that "the natural world is the larger sacred community to which we all belong." In his view, Earth's natural elements -- trees, forests, mountains -- had as much right to exist as humans. "We bear the universe in our being even as the universe bears us in its being."

Click here to read the rest of the obituary. More information about Berry can be found at his website,

-- Claire Noland

Photo: Thomas Berry at a retirement home in Greensboro, N.C., in April 2009. Credit: Joseph Rodriguez /  News & Record

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