Divinanimality : animal theory, creaturely theology by Stephen Moore, Laurel Kearns

By Stephen Moore, Laurel Kearns

A flip to the animal is underway within the humanities, most glaringly in such fields as philosophy, literary experiences, cultural experiences, and non secular reports. One very important catalyst for this improvement has been the awesome physique of animal concept issuing from such thinkers as Jacques Derrida and Donna Haraway. What may perhaps the ensuing interdisciplinary box, normally termed animality reports, suggest for theology, religious study, and different cognate disciplines? Is it attainable to maneuver from animal concept to creaturely theology?

This quantity is the 1st full-length try and grapple centrally with those questions. It makes an attempt to triangulate philosophical and theoretical reflections on animality and humanity with theological reflections on divinity. If the animal human contrast is being rethought and retheorized as by no means earlier than, then the animal human divine differences must be rethought, retheorized, and retheologized besides it. this can be the duty that the multidisciplinary workforce of theologians, biblical students, philosophers, and historians assembled during this quantity jointly undertakes. They achieve this often with recourse to Derrida's animal philosophy and in addition with recourse to an eclectic variety of different proper thinkers, resembling Haraway, Giorgio Agamben, Emmanuel Levinas, Gloria Anzaldua, Helene Cixous, A. N. Whitehead, and Lynn White Jr.

The result's a quantity that may be crucial interpreting for spiritual experiences audiences attracted to ecological concerns, animality reports, and posthumanism, in addition to for animality reports audiences drawn to how buildings of the divine have knowledgeable structures of the nonhuman animal via heritage

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H. Lawrence’s poem “The Snake,” which Derrida discusses at length in The Beast and the Sovereign. He gives it as his example of how we miss hospitality and fellowship in the pettiness of discourse that is actually a cruelty. The poem draws the picture of a scene in which the owner of property comes down to his water trough and finds a great dark snake has arrived at the trough before him and is taking a drink of water on this hot day. The man resents waiting for a snake to have his water. Even more representative of the human regard for snakes, he suddenly admits, “The voice of my education said to me / He must be killed.

40 He related the anecdote of a wolf “frantically upset” at a dog fight and breaking it up by pulling the aggressor dog by the tail off of the other dog. ”42 Of course, the tales often claimed otherwise. Are these tales not also bêtises, not only silly ways to distance humans from the world and themselves, but also awkward, gauche attempts to disown responsibility for violence and project it onto the other? It seems that for much of prehistory and even recorded history, human and wolf coexisted, and helped one another as the two predators of large mammals: “Until about four hundred years ago the wolf was second only to man as the most successful and widespread mammal in North America.

The first half of the essay ponders various encounters that the book’s eponymous hero has with animals. Each encounter entails transformation from human to animal either enacted (Nebuchadnezzar into grazing animal; empires into hybrid monsters) or denied (Daniel into lion), and each entails a revelation of what Derrida terms divinanimality. The second half of the essay brings postcolonial themes into dialogue with animality themes across the catastrophe-ridden space of the book of Daniel. Aided by Giorgio Agamben and Donna Haraway, the authors reflect on how this apocalypse consigns entire human populations to the category of the killable in a logic that relies on the dispensability of the animal.

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