Animals in Religion

Devotion, Symbol and Ritual

Barbara Allen

Animals in Religion

Barbara Allen

Distributed for Reaktion Books

480 pages | 80 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2016
Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9781780235691 Published July 2016 For sale in North and South America only
Animals in Religion explores the role of animals within a wide range of religious traditions. Exploring countless stories and myths passed down orally and in many religious texts, Barbara Allen—herself a practicing minister—offers a fascinating history of the ways animals have figured in our spiritual lives, whether they have been Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or any number of lesser-known religions.
           
Some of the figures here will be familiar, such as St. Francis of Assisi, famous for his accord with animals, or that beloved remover of obstacles, Ganesha, the popular elephant god in the Hindu pantheon. Delving deeper, Allen highlights the numerous ways that our religious practices have honored and relied upon our animal brethren. She examines the principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence, which has Jains sweeping the pathways before them so as not to kill any insects, as well as the similar principle in Judaism of ts’ar ba’alei chayim and the notion in some sects of Islam that all living creatures are Muslim. From ancient Egypt to the Druids to the indigenous cultures of North America and Australia, Allen tells story after story that emphasizes the same message: all species are spiritually connected. 
Contents
Introduction
One
                Animals in Tribal and First Peoples’ Religions
Two
                Animals in Ancient Egyptian Religion and Mythology
Three
                Animals in Celtic and Viking Myth and Ritual
Four
                Animals in Judaism
Five
                Animals in Christianity
Six
                Animals in Islam
Seven
                Animals in Hinduism
Eight
                Animals in Jainism
Nine
                Animals in Buddhism
Ten
                Animals in Religion in China and Japan
Conclusion
References
Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements
Index
 
 
 
 
Review Quotes
Ryan Patrick McLaughlin, Siena College, New York
“Allen highlights the mysterious alterity of nonhuman animals (such that they should not be reduced to things) and in turn leads the reader to discover, through a myriad of religious voices, these mysterious creatures as spiritual brethren.”
The Peaceable Table
“This substantial, almost encyclopedic book will undoubtedly long be a standard reference for basic information on the myths and beliefs involving animals of the major world religions past and present. The author, a minister in the Uniting Church of Australia as well as Australia’s first chaplain in an animal hospital, has assembled a wonderful collection of stories and judicious statements by respected religious spokespersons from around the world.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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