Animal Rights and Animal Laws in the Bible: The Daily Practice of Reverence for Life

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What characterizes the proper ethical treatment of animals as outlined in the Old Testament? Animals play an important role in the Old Testament, and in particular the Pentateuch. Ritual sacrifices were a part of the ancient traditions, and there are rules written into the laws that pertain to this practice as well as the religious approach to animals and nature. In the oft quoted passage from Genesis the call is to not only be fruitful and multiply, but to reign over the earth and subdue it along with the animals that God created. The author explores the fallout of an anthropocentric way of approaching nature that he claims is a misreading of Genesis. Taken out of context this can seem as though ethics is arbitrary in the pursuit of such dominion, but in reality the Pentateuch shows a rather rigid set of laws revealing the careful treatment of animals as sacred beings necessary for the flourishing of human life on earth.


“The work of this author has initiated a new direction in appropriating Hebrew Bible studies for ecological concerns and particularly our correct attitude towards animals. This work is a path blazing contribution towards the theological articulation of a God who is not only a God of the human beings but also a God of the whole of creation and of animals. God creates animals, gives birth to them, nourishes them from God’s own bounty, and who takes care of them despite of human assistance or help for animals.”
Prof. Naveen Rao,
Leonard Theological College

“A reader friendly approach stimulates the minds of the readers. Therefore the book is recommended not only for the theological and biblical students but for everyone who wants to see the biblical mandate for saving our cosmos for the future generations.”
Prof. K. Jesurathnam,
United Theological College

“In contrast to popular opinion Vasantha Rao is able to prove the real view of the biblical authors of the close relation of God the creator to all living creatures and his care for animals as well as human beings.”
Prof. Klaus Koch
University of Hamburg

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