The Bible and the beast: aspects of the social construction of animals in the Hebrew Bible

D'Amico, Davide; Paganini, Simone (Thesis advisor); Enxing, Julia (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : RWTH Aachen University (2023)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2023


After more than a century of growth, zooarchaeology has begun to reach its full potential. Recent scholarly interest in zooarchaeological investigations has opened up multiple avenues of research that have led to a reassessment of the role of animals in ancient societies. Even with regard to Israel's history, more recent studies on the human-animal relationship have helped shed light on aspects of past human life, from social structure to economics, diet to ecology, ideology to religion. However, the growing interest in the material evidence unearthed by archaeology has not been matched by an equal interest on the part of biblical scholars in trying to understand, through texts, what the place of animals was in the socio-cultural context of biblical Israel. Focusing on three central moments, creation, law, and sacrifice this thesis investigates the social construction of animals that emerges from a critical analysis of the Hebrew Bible. In dialogue with the zooarchaeological disciplines and with the theory on the social role of animals developed by human-animal studies, the thesis engages with the biblical text by investigating how it constructs animals in the different contexts that characterize it


  • Biblical Theology Teaching and Research Area [781220]