This highly acclaimed work reflects on the nature that we, and our religions, sprang from. The biblical story of Jacob has been interpreted in a multitude of ways, but never more persuasively than by Trevor Herriot in Jacob's Wound. The central idea is that Jacob, representing the farmer and civilized man, suffers a deep wound when he swindles the birthright of Esau, representing the hunter and primitive man. Herriot queries whether we, as Jacob did with Esau, can eventually reconcile with the wilderness that we have conquered and have been estranged from for so long.
Jacob's Wound takes readers on an untrodden path through history, nature, science, and theology, sharing stories and personal experiences that beautifully illuminate what we once were and what we have become.
In a series of meditations on nature and wildness, religion and spirituality, sojourning and home, Herriot (River in a Dry Land) demonstrates both the contemplative mysticism that returned him to his Catholic roots and the sharp eye of a naturalist distinctly aware of his physical surroundings. In the first half of the book, "Ascending Hakkarmel," Herriot describes the intimate practice of living occasionally in a tipi on "the Land," his family's retreat, in chapters alternating with meditations on the Bible, such as the conflict between Jacob and Esau, and religious or spiritual teachings and experiences, such as Teilhard de Chardin's. In the book's second half, titled "From Mount Carmel," the author continues, in writing that is lush and evocative, to toggle between personal anecdote and thoughts on scripture and religious tradition. The chapter titles of this half, such as "Wild Grace," "Scapular 1" and "Into the Presence of God 1. Descend," belie the author's poetic style. Herriot provides, rather than a sustained ecological or theological argument, an engaged reflection on nature and God.