A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics / Edition 1

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A Communion of Subjects is the first comparative and interdisciplinary study of the conceptualization of animals in world religions. Scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including Thomas Berry (cultural history), Wendy Doniger (study of myth), Elizabeth Lawrence (veterinary medicine, ritual studies), Marc Bekoff (cognitive ethology), Marc Hauser (behavioral science), Steven Wise (animals and law), Peter Singer (animals and ethics), and Jane Goodall (primatology) consider how major religious traditions have incorporated animals into their belief systems, myths, rituals, and art. Their findings offer profound insights into humans' relationships with animals and a deeper understanding of the social and ecological web in which we all live.

Contributors examine Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Daoism, Confucianism, African religions, traditions from ancient Egypt and early China, and Native American, indigenous Tibetan, and Australian Aboriginal traditions, among others. They explore issues such as animal consciousness, suffering, sacrifice, and stewardship in innovative methodological ways. They also address contemporary challenges relating to law, biotechnology, social justice, and the environment. By grappling with the nature and ideological features of various religious views, the contributors cast religious teachings and practices in a new light. They reveal how we either intentionally or inadvertently marginalize "others," whether they are human or otherwise, reflecting on the ways in which we assign value to living beings.

Though it is an ancient concern, the topic of "Religion and Animals" has yet to be systematically studied by modern scholars. This groundbreaking collection takes the first steps toward a meaningful analysis.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of the American Academy of Religion - Ingvild Salid Gilhus
This substantial contribution opens up a broad field and will clearly be inspiration to further work on animals and religion. It is very much welcome.
Christian Century - Matthew Halteman

A Communion of Subjects delivers a wealth of resources for stirring the conscience and stoking the imagination.

Religious Studies Review - Frederick M. Smith

Unique, compassionate, and far-reaching

Journal of the American Academy of Religion - Ingvild Sælid Gilhus

This substantial contribution opens up a broad field and will clearly be inspiration to further work on animals and religion. It is very much welcome.

Journal of the American Academy of Religion
This substantial contribution opens up a broad field and will clearly be inspiration to further work on animals and religion. It is very much welcome.

— Ingvild Sælid Gilhus

Christian Century
A Communion of Subjects delivers a wealth of resources for stirring the conscience and stoking the imagination.

— Matthew Halteman

religious Studies Review
Unique, compassionate, and far-reaching

— Frederick M. Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231136426
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/12/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 720
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 2.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Waldau is the director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Boston and is the author of The Specter of Speciesism: Buddhist and Christian Views of Animals (Oxford). He is also co-chair of the Animals and Religion Consultation at the American Academy of Religion and president of the Religion and Animals Institute. Kimberley Patton is professor of the comparative and historical study of religion at Harvard Divinity School, where she teaches a course on animals in religion. She is the author of several books, including most recently, The Sea Can Wash Away All Evils: Modern Marine Pollution and the Ancient Cathartic Ocean (Columbia).

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgment     xiii
Essay Abstracts     xv
Heritage of the Volume   Mary Evelyn Tucker     1
Prologue: Loneliness and Presence   Thomas Berry     5
Introduction   Paul Waldau   Kimberley Patton     11
Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics: In and Out of Time
"Caught with ourselves in the net of life and time": Traditional Views of Animals in Religion   Kimberley Patton     27
Seeing the Terrain We Walk: Features of the Contemporary Landscape of "Religion and Animals"   Paul Waldau     40
Animals in Abrahamic Traditions
Sacrifice in Ancient Israel: Pure Bodies, Domesticated Animals, and the Divine Shepherd   Jonathan Klawans     65
Hope for the Animal Kingdom: A Jewish Vision   Dan Cohn-Sherbok     81
Hierarchy, Kinship, and Responsibility: The Jewish Relationship to the Animal World   Roberta Kalechofsky     91
The Bestiary of Heretics: Imaging Medieval Christian Heresy with Insects and Animals   Beverly Kienzle     103
Descartes, Christianity, and Contemporary Speciesism   Gary Steiner     117
Practicing the Presence of God: A Christian Approach to Animals   Jay McDaniel     132
"This she-camel of God isa sign to you": Dimensions of Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Culture   Richard Foltz     149
The Case of the Animals Versus Man: Towards an Ecology of Being   Zayn Kassam     160
"Oh that I could be a bird and fly, I would rush to the Beloved": Birds in Islamic Mystical Poetry   Ali Asani     170
Animals in Indian Traditions
Cows, Elephants, Dogs, and Other Lesser Embodiments of Atman: Reflections on Hindu Attitudes Toward Nonhuman Animals   Lance Nelson     179
Strategies of Vedic Subversion: The Emergence of Vegetarianism in Post-Vedic India   Edwin Bryant     194
"A vast unsupervised recycling plant": Animals and the Buddhist Cosmos   Ian Harris     207
Snake-kings, Boars' Heads, Deer Parks, Monkey Talk: Animals as Transmitters and Transformers in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist Narratives   Ivette Vargas     218
Inherent Value without Nostalgia: Animals and the Jaina Tradition   Christopher Chapple     241
Five-Sensed Animals in Jainism   Kristi Wiley     250
Animals in Chinese Traditions
Early Chinese Religion
"Of a tawny bull we make offering": Animals in Early Chinese Religion   Roel Sterckx     259
Daoism and Animals   E. N. Anderson   Lisa Raphals      275
Of Animals and Humans: The Confucian Perspective   Rodney Taylor     293
East Meets West: Animals in Philosophy and Cultural History     309
Human Exceptionalism Versus Cultural Elitism: (Or "Three in the morning, four at night")   Roger Ames     311
Humans and Animals: The History from a Religio-Ecological Perspective   Jordan Paper     325
Animals in Myth
A Symbol in Search of an Object: The Mythology of Horses in India   Wendy Doniger     335
Animals in African Mythology   Kofi Opoku     351
"Why Umbulka Killed His Masters": Aboriginal Reconciliation and the Australian Wild Dog (Canis lupus dingo)   Ian McIntosh     360
Animals in Ritual
Knowing and Being Known by Animals: Indigenous Perspectives on Personhood   John Grim     373
Animal Sacrifice: Metaphysics of the Sublimated Victim   Kimberley Patton     391
Hunting the Wren: A Sacred Bird in Ritual   Elizabeth Lawrence     406
Ridiculus Mus: Of Mice and Men in Roman Thought   Christopher McDonough     413
Raven Augury from Tibet to Alaska: Dialects, Divine Agency, and the Bird's-Eye View   Eric Mortensen     423
Animals in Art
On the Dynamis of Animals, or How Animalium Became Anthropos   Diane Apostolos-Cappadona     439
Animals as Subjects: Ethical Implications for Science
Wild Justice, Social Cognition, Fairness, and Morality: A Deep Appreciation for the Subjective Lives of Animals   Marc Bekoff     461
From Cognition to Consciousness   Donald Griffin     481
Are Animals Moral Agents? Evolutionary Building Blocks of Morality   Marc Hauser     505
Ethics, Biotechnology, and Animals   Bernard Rollin     519
Animal Experimentation   Kenneth Shapiro     533
Are Animals "for" Humans? The Issues of Factory Farming
Caring for Farm Animals: Pastoralist Ideals in an Industrialized World   David Eraser     547
Agriculture, Livestock, and Biotechnology: Values, Profits, and Ethics   Michael Fox     556
Agribusiness: Farming Without Culture   Gary Valen     568
Contemporary Challenges: Law, Social Justice, and the Environment
Animals and the Law
Animal Law and Animal Sacrifice: Analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Santeria Animal Sacrifice in Hialeah   Steven Wise     585
Animals and Social Justice
"A very rare and difficult thing": Ecofeminism, Attention to Animal Suffering, and the Disappearance of the Subject   Carol Adams     591
Interlocking Oppressions: The Nature of Cruelty to Nonhuman Animals and its Relationship to Violence Toward Humans   Kim Roberts     605
Animal Protection and the Problem of Religion   Peter Singer     616
Animals and Global Stewardship
Earth Charter Ethics and Animals   Steven Rockefeller     621
Pushing Environmental Justice to a Natural Limit   Paul Waldau     629
Conclusion: A Communion of Subjects and a Multiplicity of Intelligences   Mary Evelyn Tucker     645
Epilogue: The Dance of Awe   Jane Goodall     651
List of Contributors     657
Index     667
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