Holy Dogs and Asses

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-02-08
  • Publisher: Univ of Illinois Pr
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Analysis of animals in the history of the Christian tradition has been exclusively symbolic, but Laura Hobgood-Oster utilizes the feminist perspective in her examination of the impact of animal presence. In challenging the metaphoric reading of animals that reinforces human superiority and dominance,Holy Dogs and Assesunderscores animal agency. Creatures play various active roles, which Hobgood-Oster categorizes as exemplars of piety, sources of revelation, saintly martyrs, and the primary other in an intimate relationship. Drawing from rich oral histories, legends, artwork, and popular stories of saints, this study directs our attention to the animal body - also a central concern of Christian theology and feminist criticism. Hobgood-Oster invites the reader to venture beyond the exclusive symbolic nature of animals in the Christian tradition to an awareness that we can know ourselves more fully by reference to the animal.

Author Biography

Laura Hobgood-Oster is the Elizabeth Root Paden Chair in Religion at Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, and author of “She Glanceth from Earth to Heaven”: The Phenomenon of Love Mysticism among Women in Antebellum Virginia and Maryland.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Weaving and Roaring: Animals and a Religious Studies-Centered Methodological Bricolagep. 1
Guardians of the Gateway: Shifting Historical Settings for Christianity and Animalsp. 21
The Ephesian Lion and Clay Sparrows: Animals in the Christian Canon and Early Apocryphal Traditionsp. 42
Counted among the Saints: Animals in Medieval Hagiographyp. 63
The Granted Image: Dogs in Christian Story and Artp. 81
Animals Return to the Sanctuary: Blessings of Animals in Contemporary American Culturep. 107
Animals Are Good to Think: Transforming Theological Considerations of Animalsp. 129
Epiloguep. 147
Notesp. 149
Bibliographyp. 163
Indexp. 171
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