Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138Course Title:
Animals and ReligionInstructor:
Kimberley Patton, Harvard Divinity School, 617-496-3395Summary:
Focuses on the symbolism and ritual function of animals in human religious worlds. Using particular cultural histories as paradigms, considers themes such a cosmogony, hierarchy, magic, metamorphosis, antinomianism, prophecy, mimesis, hunting, sacrifice, and the role of fantastic creatures. Central to the course is the evaluation of developmentalist and other theoretical models and their impact on the history of religion. (This course is taught periodically. Please contact the instructor for scheduling.)
Institution: Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47401
Course Title: Science, Religion, and the Environment
Instructor: Lisa Sideris, Department of Religious Studies, 812-330-1573
Summary: Examines arguments that hold scientific and religious world views responsible for our environmental crisis and the devaluation of nonhuman animal life. The structure of the course follows a thesis-antithesis-synthesis format. We start with a historical survey of Christian thinkers (Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther) up to and including modern Christian thinkers who have been criticized by environmentalists. We then cover scientific thinkers such as Bacon and Descartes, and modern physicists. The third section involves a reconsideration of the thesis that science and/or religion have been responsible for environmental problems and disregard for animals. We look at thinkers both in science and religion who have contributed positively to the human-nature relationship, both in the past and present.
Institutions: Tufts University (undergraduate students), Medford, MA
02155; and Episcopal Divinity School (graduate students), Cambridge,
Course Title: Religion, Science, and Other Animals
Instructor: Paul Waldau, Center for Animals and Public
Policy, Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, 200 Westboro
Rd., North Grafton, MA 01536-1895, 508-887-4671
Summary: Focuses on how nonhuman animals have been seen
in both religious and scientific circles. Prompts the student
to ask a wide range of questions, including:
1. To what extent have religious traditions affected the ways
in which contemporary scientists view and speak about animals
other than humans?
2. In what ways do contemporary religious traditions now deal
with new findings of various life sciences that are pertinent
to an understanding of nonhuman animals?
Answers to these questions are explored in several ways, including
an examination of whether the vocabularies and concepts used by
those who practice both the physical and "softer" sciences when
talking about animals outside the human species remain value-laden.
The course also seeks clarification of the claims about other
animals generally implicit and explicit in many religious traditions'
writings and beliefs.
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This course recently won an award in an international
competition sponsored by the Templeton Foundation for courses
dealing with religion and science. It is also open to students
at the other nine schools in the Boston Theological Institute.
University of Florida, Gainseville, FL 32611
Course Title: Religion and Animals
Instructor: Richard C. Foltz, Ph.D., 352-392-1625, Theology Department, 513-745-3026
Summary: Humans are animals, or are they? Most,
though not all, religious traditions treat humans and animals
as separate categories, with different systems of ethical and
values applied to each. How
cultures perceive the relationship between animals and humans
affects choices about diet, understandings of our place in the
world, an increasingly today, the ethics of scientific research.
University, Cincinnati, OH 45236
Theology and Animals
Elizabeth Farians, Theology Department, [email protected]
This course will center on Christianity, violence, and animals.
It will explore the relationship between people and animals with
violence as the focus. The course will examine the moral and ethical
implications of the way animals are treated in our society, including
the commercial, agricultural, pharmacological and entertainment
industries. How this
treatment is accepted, promoted and/or justified by both secular
and religious society will be studied. Whether this treatment
redounds to us in spiritual, psychological, and physical ways
will be examined. The food we eat will be critical to this analysis
because killing and eating animals is often our most intimate
involvement with them. We
will also consider whether the patriarchal character of religion
and society influences the treatment of animals and why especially
women and children may be adversely affected. The possible connections
between the violence we inflict on animals and a resulting violent
behavior of humans will be explored. All
of this will be in the context of the Judeo-Christian scriptures
To offset the violence a program of humane education will be considered.
Related scientific findings from disciplines such as psychology
and sociology will be investigated. Insights for professions such
as education, social work, ministry, criminal justice, nursing,
science and law will be highlighted. The material alsi is aligned
with peace studies and women's studies and it also will be useful
for parenting and peaceful living. A religious basis for an alternate
and compassionate lifestyle and a dominion of care, rather than
domination, for all creation will be presented.
information: The course was originally taught in a summer
workshop format entitled "Christianity, Violence and Animals."
The new semester-long course "Theology and Animals"
will be offered during the Spring 2006 semester.