Comparative Religion

Download A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and by Paul Waldau PDF

By Paul Waldau

A Communion of Subjects is the 1st comparative and interdisciplinary examine of the conceptualization of animals in international religions. students from quite a lot of disciplines, together with Thomas Berry (cultural history), Wendy Doniger (study of myth), Elizabeth Lawrence (veterinary medication, ritual studies), Marc Bekoff (cognitive ethology), Marc Hauser (behavioral science), Steven clever (animals and law), Peter Singer (animals and ethics), and Jane Goodall (primatology) ponder how significant non secular traditions have integrated animals into their trust platforms, myths, rituals, and artwork. Their findings supply profound insights into people' relationships with animals and a deeper knowing of the social and ecological net during which all of us live.

Contributors study Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Daoism, Confucianism, African religions, traditions from historical Egypt and early China, and local American, indigenous Tibetan, and Australian Aboriginal traditions, between others. They discover matters similar to animal recognition, agony, sacrifice, and stewardship in cutting edge methodological methods. in addition they handle modern demanding situations in relation to legislation, biotechnology, social justice, and the surroundings. by means of grappling with the character and ideological gains of varied spiritual perspectives, the participants forged spiritual teachings and practices in a brand new gentle. They demonstrate how we both deliberately or inadvertently marginalize "others," whether or not they are human or in a different way, reflecting at the ways that we assign worth to residing beings.

Though it truly is an historic difficulty, the subject of "Religion and Animals" has but to be systematically studied by way of glossy students. This groundbreaking assortment takes the 1st steps towards a significant analysis.

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Additional resources for A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics

Example text

Love the animals. God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled. Do not trouble them. We need to be inspired by the birds especially: ‘‘My brother asked the birds to forgive him; that sounds senseless but it is right; for all is like an ocean, all is flowing and blending, touch in one place sets up movement at the other end of the earth. ’’ Even with all our technological accomplishments and urban sophistication we consider ourselves blessed, healed in some manner, forgiven and for a moment transported into some other world, when we catch a passing glimpse of an animal in the wild: a deer in some woodland, a fox crossing a field, a butterfly in its dancing flight southward to its wintering region, a hawk soaring in the distant sky, a hummingbird come into our garden, fireflies signaling to each other in the evening.

The conference on World Religions and Animals was held at the Harvard-Yenching Institute in May 1999. It was the intention of this gathering to build on the earlier conferences involving both interreligious 2 m a ry ev e ly n t u c k e r and multidisciplinary perspectives. A Communion of Subjects brings together a wide range of scholars to illustrate the varied ways in which religions have portrayed animals in myths, symbols, and rituals, as well as how such views were translated into actual practice.

It is this deep form expressed in its physical manifestation that so entrances us in these moments. When Aldo Leopold looked into those ‘‘fierce green eyes’’ of the dying wolf, he saw something more than the physical light reflected there. The wolf and the human came to an intimacy with each other beyond description. That is the fascination, the mystery, the immeasurable depths of the universe into which we are plunged with each of our experiences of the world about us. Such are the experiences spoken of by Aldo Leopold, Loren Eiseley, Henry David Thoreau, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Fyodor Dostoevsky and more recently by Rachel Carson, Annie Dillard, and Terry Tempest Williams.

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