Brad A. Martell, Ph.D., is a 2016 graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Environmental Studies at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Joy Ackerman, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Don Compier, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Steve Chase, Ph.D., Committee Member


Ecological Theology, Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Religious Lived Experience of Nature

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This qualitative study explored five Western Christian theologians’ religious lived experience of God’s Spirit in and through Nature. The hermeneutic phenomenological research method was utilized. Rich descriptions of lived experience were collected through 60-90 minute long phenomenological interviews which were recorded and transcribed verbatim into a text for analysis. Analysis included repeated readings of the text, identification of themes, and validation and/or correction of themes. Synthesis looked at the research as a whole and established implications and applications for Christian theology, particularly ecotheology. The study contributes to the literature of phenomenology and theology, calls for a place for lived experience (along with scripture, tradition, and reason) within theology, seeks to encourage theologians to incorporate into their work personal lived experiences of the divine in and through Nature, and ultimately hopes to illuminate one way to help inspire the church to more deeply embrace the healing of Earth as a moral responsibility. The research should be of particular interest to phenomenological scholars, other scholars looking at human relationship with the environment/natural world, professional theologians engaged in developing ecotheology, and students of Christian theology.


Brad A. Martell

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-1206-0858