The Sacrificial Economy of Christian Theology

Stephen H. Webb

in On God and Dogs

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780195152296
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849178 | DOI:
The Sacrificial Economy of Christian Theology

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This chapter investigates the fundamental reasons for theology's historical lack of sensitivity toward the question of animals. A Christian theology that treats creation as a gift from God could celebrate the dog's ability to give himself or herself freely and fully to human service; yet, an analysis of Karl Barth shows that theologians frequently focus on the relation between human reception and divine benevolence, leaving no room for gifts from and to animals. More tragically, Christian theology has frequently continued the language of sacrifice to justify animal suffering and killing. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the ways Christianity potentially and actually subverts the logic of sacrifice and how the life and death of Jesus Christ can be interpreted as liberating for animals as well as humans.

Keywords: Christian theology; animal suffering; animal killing; Karl Barth; sacrifice

Chapter.  13900 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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