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 workshop 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

Warsaw 2019 Call for Papers

The Animals and the Bible workshop welcomes papers within the intersection of Animal Studies and Biblical Studies. This year, we are particularly interested in “Relationships and Divisions”. How do the biblical texts establish, cross over, and problematise the dividing lines between animals, people and God? Is there a simplistic hierarchical relationship between these three? Furthermore, how and why are animals divided from one another (e.g. into clean and unclean), or classed together with certain humans (e.g. slaves)? Despite this focus, any papers are encouraged which explore the role and status of animals in the biblical world, in biblical texts, and in cognate literature. Papers with an interdisciplinary approach are particularly welcomed.



The Annual Conference 2021
takes place 2-5 August
in Wuppertal. Read more.