Prophets of Nature

Green Spirituality in Romantic Poetry and Painting

Gordon Strachan

Out of print

Quick Look

Argues that God's first book was nature itself, and shows how the Romantic poets and paintings brought that gospel alive.

234 x 156 mm
Floris Books
Mind, Body, Spirit; Art & Literature
40 b/w illustrations
160 pages
Publication date:
25 Sep 2008


Many millennia before the present Scriptures existed, God wrote his first book, namely, nature itself. It was through this 'original Bible' that men and women of ancient times experienced the mind and will of God. It then seemed as if the eighteenth century intellectual Enlightenment closed that book forever. However in the following century, the Romantic poets and painters rediscovered the spirit enshrined in the natural world.

This perceptive study, by well-known thinker and writer Gordon Strachan, discusses the tradition of green spirituality as seen through poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge, and painters such as Samuel Palmer, Caspar David Friedrich and William Turner.

Strachan argues for the genuine spiritual vision of these artists before the so-called twilight of Romanticism set in. He shows that there are many deep springs of inspiration in their work which chime with our current environmental concerns.


'This is an interesting and unusual book, as the conflicts between faith and Romanticism are full of complexities … Strachan unearths some interesting literary correlations between the poetry of the Romantics and the poetry of the Bible, and if he is a little too dependent on the critiques of others he nonetheless has some worthwhile things to say.'
-- The Herald, Saturday 11th October 2008

'The sheer force of the Romantic and ecological message carries through to us over the centuries and is urgently needed today. Prophets of Nature is well worth reading and often deeply inspiring.'
-- Jean Hardy, GreenSpirit Journal

'This book is about the essentially mystical experience of the spirit of nature as well as the spirits in nature and of the Creator Spirit, based on the traditional idea that nature was the second Bible … The lesson for today is that without a redevelopment of our sympathetic imagination we are unlikely to be able to turn around our exploitative attitude to nature.'
-- David Lorimer, Scientific and Medical Network Review

'Argues that the great English artists, poets and writers experienced the divine through nature and expressed it in their work … and the intellectual Enlightenment rediscovered the ancient pagan spirit that was enshrined in the natural world. Highly recommended.'
-- The Cauldron, February 2008

'One man's impassioned response to great works of art.'
-- The Fortean Times, May 2009

'The sheer force of the Romantic and ecological message carries through to us over the centuries, and is urgently needed today. This book is well worth reading and is often deeply inspiring: it's great that it has appeared now.'
-- Dr Jean Hardy, The Gatekeeper

'Gordon Strachan has demonstrated that we should not give up on Western spirituality. There are still deep refreshing springs in the West which have not dried up but which need to be rediscovered. We have a rich heritage of environmental concern going back, as far as the Romantics are concerned, nearly two hundred and fifty years. We must heed their vision.'
-- Hugo Jenks, New Vision

'Offers distinctive insights into religion and culture in early modern Britain.'
-- Brian Cooper, The Baptist Times


Gordon Strachan (1934-2010) was a lecturer, church minister and independent thinker. He is the author of six books: The Pentecostal Theology of Edward Irving; Christ and the Cosmos (later republished as The Bible's Hidden Cosmology); Jesus the Master Builder; Chartres: Sacred Geometry, Sacred Space; The Return of Merlin; and Prophets of Nature.

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