Animals and the Bible


Animal Studies is a growing discipline, which has recently had fruitful intersections with philosophy, theology, and literary studies (see the work of e.g., Georgio Agamben, David Clough, Jacques Derrida, Donna Haraway, and Peter Singer). Animals, and the question of animal ethics, are also growing concerns in the contemporary world, particularly in light of modern industrialised farming trends and the pressing threat of extinctions. Animals have always had a presence in biblical scholarship—whether it be in relation to purity laws (e.g., Douglas, 1966), zooarchaeology (e.g., Borowski, 1998), or animal symbolism (e.g., Strawn, 2005)—but the intersection with critical Animal Studies has, until recently, been lacking. There has, however, been a recent flourishing in this area (see e.g., Koosed, 2014; Stone, 2018; Strømmen, 2018). This research unit aims to continue this dialogue by facilitating critical thought about the status and role of animals in the Bible and related texts. Important questions include: the role of animals in the biblical world; animal ethics in relation to the Bible; and the relationships and boundaries between animals, humans, and God. Beyond this, any research within the intersection of Biblical and Animal studies is encouraged. This nascent field of study has no set methodology, and we hope to incorporate a range of interdisciplinary approaches.


Animals, Animal Studies, Interdisciplinary, Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, New Testament


Suzanna R Millar
University of Edinburgh

Peter Joshua Atkins
University of Chester

Member Area

Syracuse 2023 Call for Papers

For the 2023 meeting in Syracuse, the Animals and the Bible Research Unit will be having an open call for papers. We welcome paper proposals on any topic which engages which the broader interests of the research unit. Papers should assess the status and role of animals in the Bible and/or related texts to some degree, though no specific methodology is required and we are especially keen on proposals which attempt to engage with biblical animals in innovative ways.