The Animal Kingdom in Jewish Thought by Shlomo Pesach ToperoffThe Animal Kingdom in Jewish Thought addresses several areas of life in which the animal world plays a dominant role, all of which are steeped in Jewish law, custom, and tradition. Shlomo Toperoff presents a detailed study of sixty-five different species of animals, all found in the Bible and reviewed in alphabetical order. The first chapter begins by enumerating the laws of the Sabbath and Festivals as they relate to animals. The reader will learn that the Sabbath, the weekly day of rest, applies not only to human beings but also to the beasts of the field. The rabbis of the Talmud discuss extensively the degree to which the laws of the Sabbath may be violated for the purpose of rescuing an animal in danger. From feeding an animal on the Sabbath to putting a fish back into its tank, Jewish law displays a distinct sensitivity to the animal and its dependence upon man for its well-being. Animal welfare, a long-held concern of animal activists and pet owners, finds its roots in the Bible and in Jewish tradition, where mankind is warned not to hurt even the smallest of insects. Naming a newborn child after certain animals is a long-standing Jewish tradition. Toperoff provides an extensive list of biblical characters who have been named after animals. After discussing the various sources of post-talmudic literature that cover animal issues, from the Kuzari to Maimonides to Rav Kook, Toperoff dedicates an entire chapter to Perek Shirah, a small book by an unknown author, probably written in the tenth century, which has three parts: heaven and earth, plants, and animals. All three share one common aim: they all owe their allegiance to their Creator and sing songs of praise unto Him.
The Animal Claim by Tobias MenelyDuring the eighteenth century, some of the most popular British poetry showed a responsiveness to animals that anticipated the later language of animal rights. Such poems were widely cited in later years by legislators advocating animal welfare laws like Martin’s Act of 1822, which provided protections for livestock. In The Animal Claim, Tobias Menely links this poetics of sensibility with Enlightenment political philosophy, the rise of the humanitarian public, and the fate of sentimentality, as well as longstanding theoretical questions about voice as a medium of communication. In the Restoration and eighteenth century, philosophers emphasized the role of sympathy in collective life and began regarding the passionate expression humans share with animals, rather than the spoken or written word, as the elemental medium of community. Menely shows how poetry came to represent this creaturely voice and, by virtue of this advocacy, facilitated the development of a viable discourse of animal rights in the emerging public sphere. Placing sensibility in dialogue with classical and early-modern antecedents as well as contemporary animal studies, The Animal Claim uncovers crucial connections between eighteenth-century poetry; theories of communication; and post-absolutist, rights-based politics.
Publication Date: 2015
The Question of the Animal and Religion by Aaron S. GrossThrough an absorbing investigation into recent, high-profile scandals involving one of the largest kosher slaughterhouses in the world, located unexpectedly in Postville, Iowa, Aaron S. Gross makes a powerful case for elevating the category of the animal in the study of religion. Major theorists have almost without exception approached religion as a phenomenon that radically marks humans off from other animals, but Gross rejects this paradigm, instead matching religion more closely with the life sciences to better theorize human nature. Gross begins with a detailed account of the scandals at Agriprocessors and their significance for the American and international Jewish community. He argues that without a proper theorization of "animals and religion," we cannot fully understand religiously and ethically motivated diets and how and why the events at Agriprocessors took place. Subsequent chapters recognize the significance of animals to the study of religion in the work of Ernst Cassirer, Emile Durkheim, Mircea Eliade, Jonathan Z. Smith, and Jacques Derrida and the value of indigenous peoples' understanding of animals to the study of religion in our daily lives. Gross concludes by extending the Agribusiness scandal to the activities at slaughterhouses of all kinds, calling attention to the religiosity informing the regulation of "secular" slaughterhouses and its implications for our relationship with and self-imagination through animals.
Publication Date: 2014
Before the Law by Cary WolfeAnimal studies and biopolitics are two of the most dynamic areas of interdisciplinary scholarship, but until now, they have had little to say to each other. Bringing these two emergent areas of thought into direct conversation in Before the Law, Cary Wolfe fosters a new discussion about the status of nonhuman animals and the shared plight of humans and animals under biopolitics. Wolfe argues that the human-animal distinction must be supplemented with the central distinction of biopolitics: the difference between those animals that are members of a community and those that are deemed killable but not murderable. From this understanding, we can begin to make sense of the fact that this distinction prevails within both the human and animal domains and address such difficult issues as why we afford some animals unprecedented levels of care and recognition while subjecting others to unparalleled forms of brutality and exploitation. Engaging with many major figures in biopolitical thought--from Heidegger, Arendt, and Foucault to Agamben, Esposito, and Derrida--Wolfe explores how biopolitics can help us understand both the ethical and political dimensions of the current questions surrounding the rights of animals.
Publication Date: 2012
Sacred Species and Sites by Gloria Pungetti (Editor); Gonzalo Oviedo (Editor); Della Hooke (Editor)It is being increasingly recognised that cultural and biological diversity are deeply linked and that conservation programmes should take into account the ethical, cultural and spiritual values of nature. With contributions from a range of scholars, practitioners and spiritual leaders from around the world, this book provides new insights into biocultural diversity conservation. It explores sacred landscapes, sites, plants and animals from around the world to demonstrate the links between nature conservation and spiritual beliefs and traditions. Key conceptual topics are connected to case studies, as well as modern and ancient spiritual insights, guiding the reader through the various issues from fundamental theory and beliefs to practical applications. It looks forward to the biocultural agenda, providing guidelines for future research and practice and offering suggestions for improved integration of these values into policy, planning and management.
Publication Date: 2012
Animal Gospel by Andrew LinzeyOur treatment of animals is a gospel issue, Andrew Linzey contends, because those individuals and institutions that could have become the voice of God's most vulnerable creatures have instead justified cruelty and oppression. He offers an inspiring personal account of the gospel truths that have sustained his commitment to the cause of animals for more than twenty-five years.
A Theory of General Ethics by Warwick FoxWith A Theory of General Ethics Warwick Fox both defines the field of General Ethics and offers the first example of a truly general ethics. Specifically, he develops a single, integrated approach to ethics that encompasses the realms of interhuman ethics, the ethics of the natural environment, and the ethics of the built environment. Thus Fox offers what is in effect the first example of an ethical "Theory of Everything."Fox refers to his own approach to General Ethics as the "theory of responsive cohesion." He argues that the best examples in any domain of interest--from psychology to politics, from conversations to theories--exemplify the quality of responsive cohesion, that is, they hold together by virtue of the mutual responsiveness of the elements that constitute them. Fox argues that the relational quality of responsive cohesion represents the most fundamental value there is. He then develops the theory of responsive cohesion, central features of which include the elaboration of a "theory of contexts" as well as a differentiated model of our obligations in respect of all beings. In doing this, he draws on cutting-edge work in cognitive science in order to develop a powerful distinction between beings who use language and beings that do not.Fox tests his theory against eighteen central problems in General Ethics--including challenges raised by abortion, euthanasia, personal obligations, politics, animal welfare, invasive species, ecological management, architecture, and planning--and shows that it offers sensible and defensible answers to the widest possible range of ethical problems.
Publication Date: 2006
Is Nature Ever Evil? by Willem B. Drees (Editor)Moral names are often flung at nature: good, beautiful, cruel, kind. From Noah's Flood to Shakespeare's stage, from anthropomorphic magic to religious concepts of creation and redemption, nature has been praised as a totem of order and hope, or cursed for its harshness, disorder and indifference.