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Lars Albinus

Dyrenes betydning i religion og filosofi - en oversigt

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In this article, I present an overview of the meaning and sig-nificance of animals in a religious context, ranging from tribal cultures to a Christian tradition. Furthermore, I will draw a line to current philosophical and eco-critical de-bates. My thesis is that in many cultures humans have had a tendency to regard animals as a mediating link between life in this world and a transcendent form of being. In ani-mistic and totemistic ontologies animals are closely related to divinities as well as to humanity as such, whereas in more developed forms of religion they become part of a hierarchy as mediators between humans and gods. This is seen, for instance, in sacrifi-cial cult. Later their significance decreases according to their predominant role of being moral similes. In our own times, however, animals seem to regain a significance as be-ings in their own right owing to our increasing ecological awareness. Prominent phi-losophers such as Derrida and Agamben have thus questioned the traditional view of human exceptionalism and opened up for a new understanding of the relationship be-tween being animal and being human. I finally suggest that Agamben's concept of 'bare life' and an eco-critical notion of stewardship concerning endangered species, as well as animals in general, both conceive of the animal as a new kind of immanent transcend-ence.

Original languageDanish
Article number1
JournalReligionsvidenskabeligt Tidsskrift
Pages (from-to)7-39
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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