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Animal Theology Paperback – January 1, 1995

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This disturbing volume, based on a series of lectures given to the theology faculty at Oxford University, argues that contemporary agribusiness, based on the commodification of animals, is immoral and theologically indefensible. No vegan polemic or anti-vivisectionist tract, Lindzey's is a carefully prepared and argued discussion of the theology of animal rights in which the author takes the community of faith to task for its blindness to the centrality, within the Christian tradition, of duty to animals. Particularly damning are the chapters on scientific experimentation, hunting for sport, meat-eating and genetic engineering.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Back Cover

Animal rights is animal theology. The author argues that historical theology, creatively defined, must reject humanocentricity. He questions the assumption that if theology is to speak on this issue, 'it must only do so on the side of the oppressors.' His theological query investigates not only the abstractions of theory, but also the realities of hunting, animal experimentation, and genetic engineering. He is an important, pioneering, Christian voice speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252064674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252064678
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #276,953 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Linzey approaches animal rights from a Biblical Christian perspective. He points out that in the garden of Eden Adam and Eve were totally vegan, as were all the animals. This therefore represents an ideal state of creation, which one day it can return to ("The lion will lie down with the lamb.."). Meat eating was allowed after the flood because of sin, and should be regarded as an emergency necessity rather than part of God's overall plan. If meat eating is not necessary for health (as it isn't in much of the world), then animals should be left alone. Linzey also refutes those who say that God gave us "dominion" over other living things, pointing out that the Bible points to Christ as an example of how "dominion" should be exercised. Christ used his superior ability to help human kind and to sacrifice Himself on our behalf, not to rule over us like a petty tyrant. I have always thought this myself, but it will certainly give me more confidence when arguing against evangelical fundamentalists to know that my opinions are backed up by an Oxford Professor of theology.
Linzey goes further than Singer or Regan in our duties to animals. He agrees with Regan that we differ from other animals as moral agents (though he doesn't use the term), since we are created in God's image. He then goes on to say that just as God became a servant for us, that the "image" we are created in is the image of a servant, not a dictator.
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Format: Paperback
This book is one of many works by Prof. Linzey which grapple with the meaning of Christian faith and human relationships with other animals. In some respects, Prof. Linzey is quite traditional in his understanding of Christianity--that God is creator and redeemer, for instance, or that all are saved through Christ. However, he adds something unique (though not inconsistent) to his discussion of theology: "theos-rights," a concept emphasizing the fact that creation exists for God, not for humanity. From this, Linzey is able to show how Biblical texts and doctrines should point us toward a identifying with animals as God's creatures--not as objects to dominate over. This book is well written and an eloquent statement on behalf of Linzey's lifetime as a Christian theologian--and it pushes true Christians to become more God-centered, rather than self-centered. For those who might wish for a book that is less academic--but certainly as well written--try Linzey's "Animal Gospel."
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Format: Paperback
Andrew Linzey is a Church of England priest and theologian is also a long-time animal rights activist. His book presents a strong challenge to Christians who think of animal rights as a concern confined to the likes of PETA and Peter Singer, and who see concern for animals as peripheral to the gospel at best and anti-Christian at worst.

What sets Linzey's approach apart from secular animal rights theorists like Tom Regan is that, for Linzey, rights are grounded in God, not in anything inherent to the subject of rights (human or animal). He calls these (in a rather unfortunate neologism) "theos-rights." By this he means that animals exist for the sake of God, not for human beings, and consequently we must reject a purely instrumentalist view of animals that subordinates them to human purposes. "Creation exists for its Creator" (p. 24). And God, as Christianity conceives of him, is for Creation. In his overflowing grace, God's will for creation, including animals, is for flourishing and well-being. "The notion of `theos-rights' then for animals means that God rejoices in the lives of those differentiated beings in creation enlivened by the Spirit. In short: If God is for them, we cannot be against them" (p. 25).

Linzey argues that just as Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays his life down for his sheep, we are called to exhibit costly and sacrificial love in our relationships with others, especially those who are powerless and at our mercy as animals undoubtedly are. This is what he calls "the moral priority of the weak." What makes humans unique and how we image God, he says, is that we are the "servant species;" like Jesus was can live in service to others rather than seeking our own advantage.
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Just add an "L" to "ANIMA" and you have...."ANIMAL"

And actually, aren't we humans "animals" too? Sure! We're mammals!! Nothin to be ashamed of! And we, who are (well, SHOULD be!) the benevolent caretakers of the world, resonate with all of creation, animal, vegetable, mineral (interesting that Jesus once said "These Stones will speak!" -- if stones can do it, then why not animals, who have more of a soul (IMHO) than a Stone.)

This is a great book. Thought-provoking, has many "AHA!" moments.

When we realize that our existence is TIGHTLY woven around the existence of every other God-created being on this earth, then perhaps one day (soon I hope) the word Man"KIND" will actually mean exactly that!!!

And let's face it -- Adam and Eve were NOT thrown out of the Garden of Eden for anything the animals had done! (let's ignore the snake, who was actually Old Scratch in disguise)

So "Be kind to animals -- for you NEVER know when you may be entertaining Angels Unawares".

I recommend this book for ANYONE, even those who do not profess any religion.
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