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On God and Dogs : A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals - Stephen H. Webb

On God and Dogs

A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals

Hardcover Published: 1st January 1998
ISBN: 9780195116502
Number Of Pages: 234

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Many of us keep pet animals; we rely on them for companionship and unconditional love. For some people their closest relationships may be with their pets. In the wake of the animal rights movement, some ethicists have started to re-examine this relationship, and to question the rights of humans to "own" other sentient beings in this way.

In this engaging and thought-provoking book, Stephen Webb brings a Christian perspective to bear on the subject of our responsibility to animals, looked at through the lens of our relations with pets--especially dogs. Webb argues that the emotional bond with companion animals should play a central role in the way we think about animals in general, and--against the more extreme animal liberationists--defends the intermingling of the human and animal worlds. He tries to imagine what it would be like to treat animals as a gift from God, and indeed argues that not only are animals a gift for us, but they give to us; we need to attend to their giving and return their gifts appropriately. Throughout the book he insists that what Christians call grace is present in our relations with animals just as it is with other humans. Grace is the inclusive and expansive power of God's love to create and sustain relationships of real mutuality and reciprocity, and Webb unfolds the implications of the recognition that animals too participate in God's abundant grace.
Webb's thesis affirms and persuasively defends many of the things that pet lovers feel instinctively--that their relationships with their companion animals are meaningful and important, and that their pets have value and worth in themselves in the eyes of God. His book will appeal to a broad audience of thoughtful Christians and animal lovers.

"Webb...makes an excellent contribution to the growing theological and philosophical debate concerning the relationship between humans and animals....I strongly recommend Webb's book to anyone who cares about the theological and ethical issues surrounding the human-animal relationship and to those interested in environmental studies in general."--Seminary Studies "Webb has provided a valuable source of information concerning contemporary views on human-animal relations....As important as any aspect of the book is his account of the adventure as well as the intellectual and spiritual gains that come to us not only through what we give to animals but also through recognition of and gratitude for what they give to us....Highly recommended."--Choice "The study is significant and original because it considers issues that have often been brushed aside....Webb's book does provide an important starting point for further discussion of the theological meaning of pet relationships, and the implications of those relationships for the way we treat all animals and live in the world."--Anglican Theological Review

Foreword: Voyage to the Animal Worldp. ix
Introduction: Pet Theoriesp. 3
Surveying the Options
God and the Giving of Animalsp. 17
Theological Methodp. 17
The Biblical Recordp. 20
The Christian Traditionp. 28
Hauerwas and Berkman on a Biblical Foundation for Animal Welfarep. 35
Andrew Linzey and the Theology of Animal Rightsp. 38
Ecology versus the Peaceable Kingdomp. 44
Process Thought and the Luring of Animalsp. 44
Environmental Theology and the Reclamation of Naturep. 51
Ecofeminism and Animal Compassionp. 55
The Rhetoric of Rights and the Demands of Carep. 57
Thinking about Pets
What Are Dogs For?p. 69
The Other as More of the Same?p. 69
The Other as Social Selfp. 72
The Other as Personal Selfp. 78
The Difference That Dogs Makep. 85
Pets, Women, Meat, and Rhetoricp. 85
Vicki Hearne on the Language of Trainingp. 91
Keeping the Other Otherp. 95
Reading Excessp. 98
Excess as More Than Otherp. 102
A Theology for the Dogs
Theology and Dogtalkp. 109
The Sensibility of Sentimentp. 109
Evolution and the Problem of Animal Painp. 115
God as a Lover of Dogsp. 123
The Sacrificial Economy of Christian Theologyp. 128
Economics and Sacrificep. 128
Karl Barth's Sacrificial Economy of Animalsp. 130
Hebrew Sacrifice and the Covenantp. 134
The End of Sacrificep. 144
Jesus Christ and the Future of Animalsp. 155
A Vegetarian Eucharistp. 155
The Cosmic Christ and the Church for All Creaturesp. 167
Animal Afterlifep. 174
Epilogue: God's Nature as the Future of the Worldp. 181
Notesp. 185
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 219
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195116502
ISBN-10: 019511650X
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 234
Published: 1st January 1998
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.77 x 16.51  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.52