Porphyry's On Abstinence from Killing Animals is one of the most interesting books from Greek antiquity for both philosophers and historians. In it, Porphyry relates the arguments for eating or sacrificing animals and then goes on to argue that an understanding of humans and gods shows such sacrifice to be inappropriate, that an understanding of animals shows it to be unjust, and that a knowledge of non-Greeks shows it to be unnecessary. There are no Neoplatonist commentaries on Aristotle's Ethics from the period AD 250-600. Thus, although this work is not a commentary on Aristotle, it fills a gap in this series by going to the heart of ethical debates among Neoplatonists around AD 300, and revealing one ascetic Neoplatonist's view of the ideal way of life. It also records rival positions taken on the treatment of animals by Greek philosophers over the previous six hundred years.
Papers presented at the Thirteenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 1999 (see also Studia Patristica 34, 36, 37 and 38). The successive sets of Studia Patristica contain papers delivered at the International Conferences on Patristic Studies, which meet for a week once every four years in Oxford; they are held under the aegis of the Theology Faculty of the University. Members of these conferences come from all over the world and most offer papers. These range over the whole field, both East and West, from the second century to a section on the Nachleben of the Fathers. The majority are short papers dealing with some small and manageable point; they raise and sometimes resolve questions about the authenticity of documents, dates of events, and such like, and some unveil new texts. The smaller number of longer papers put such matters into context and indicate wider trends. The whole reflects the state of Patristic scholarship and demonstrates the vigour and popularity of the subject.
Philosophical controversy over non-human animals extends further back than many realize -- before Utilitarianism and Darwinism to the very genesis of philosophy. This volume examines the richness and complexity of that long history. Twelve essays trace the significance of animals from Greek and Indian antiquity through the Islamic and Latin medieval traditions, to Renaissance and early modern thought, ending with contemporary notions about animals. Two main questions emerge throughout the volume: what capacities can be ascribed to animals, and how should we treat them? Notoriously ungenerous attitudes towards animals' mental lives and ethics status, found for instance in Aristotle and Descartes, are shown to have been more nuanced than often supposed, while remarkable defenses of benevolence towards animals are unearthed in late antiquity, India, the Islamic world, and Kant. Other chapters examine cannibalism and vegetarianism in Renaissance thought, and the scientific testing of animals. A series of interdisciplinary reflections sheds further light on human attitudes towards animals, looking at their depiction in visual artworks from China, Africa, and Europe, as well as the rich tradition of animal fables beginning with Aesop.
This collection explores assumptions behind the label ‘anthropocentrism’, critically enquiring into the meaning of ‘human’. It addresses epistemological and ontological problems in charges of anthropocentrism, questioning the inherent anthropocentrism of all human perspectives, while seeking ‘other’ views that trump anthropocentrism.
This work contributes to the development of a theoretical context of the politics of truth about animals. By applying and extending Foucault's theory of power, this work uncovers dominant and subjugated discourses about animals and describes power-knowledge associated with statements about animals that are understood to convey true things.
In Christianity, Empire, and the Making of Religion in Late Antiquity, Jeremy M. Schott examines the ways in which conflicts between Christian and pagan intellectuals over religious, ethnic, and cultural identity contributed to the transformation of Roman imperial rhetoric and ideology in the early fourth century C.E. During this turbulent period, which began with Diocletian's persecution of the Christians and ended with Constantine's assumption of sole rule and the consolidation of a new Christian empire, Christian apologists and anti-Christian polemicists launched a number of literary salvos in a battle for the minds and souls of the empire. Schott focuses on the works of the Platonist philosopher and anti- Christian polemicist Porphyry of Tyre and his Christian respondents: the Latin rhetorician Lactantius, Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, and the emperor Constantine. Previous scholarship has tended to narrate the Christianization of the empire in terms of a new religion's penetration and conquest of classical culture and society. The present work, in contrast, seeks to suspend the static, essentializing conceptualizations of religious identity that lie behind many studies of social and political change in late antiquity in order to investigate the processes through which Christian and pagan identities were constructed. Drawing on the insights of postcolonial discourse analysis, Schott argues that the production of Christian identity and, in turn, the construction of a Christian imperial discourse were intimately and inseparably linked to the broader politics of Roman imperialism.
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology
Author: David Grumett
Publisher: A&C Black
What are the links between people's beliefs and the foods they choose to eat? In the modern Western world, dietary choices are a topic of ethical and political debate, but how can centuries of Christian thought and practice also inform them? And how do reasons for abstaining from particular foods in the modern world compare with earlier ones? This book will shed new light on modern vegetarianism and related forms of dietary choice by situating them in the context of historic Christian practice. It will show how the theological significance of embodied practice may be retrieved and reconceived in the present day. Food and diet is a neglected area of Christian theology, and Christianity is conspicuous among the modern world's religions in having few dietary rules or customs. Yet historically, food and the practices surrounding it have significantly shaped Christian lives and identities. This collection, prepared collaboratively, includes contributions on the relationship between Christian beliefs and food practices in specific historical contexts. It considers the relationship between eating and believing from non-Christian perspectives that have in turn shaped Christian attitudes and practices. It also examines ethical arguments about vegetarianism and their significance for emerging Christian theologies of food.
Gary Steiner argues that ethologists and philosophers in the analytic and continental traditions have largely failed to advance an adequate explanation of animal behavior. Critically engaging the positions of Marc Hauser, Daniel Dennett, Donald Davidson, John Searle, Martin Heidegger, and Hans-Georg Gadamer, among others, Steiner shows how the Western philosophical tradition has forced animals into human experiential categories in order to make sense of their cognitive abilities and moral status and how desperately we need a new approach to animal rights. Steiner rejects the traditional assumption that a lack of formal rationality confers an inferior moral status on animals vis-à-vis human beings. Instead, he offers an associationist view of animal cognition in which animals grasp and adapt to their environments without employing concepts or intentionality. Steiner challenges the standard assumption of liberal individualism according to which humans have no obligations of justice toward animals. Instead, he advocates a "cosmic holism" that attributes a moral status to animals equivalent to that of people. Arguing for a relationship of justice between humans and nature, Steiner emphasizes our kinship with animals and the fundamental moral obligations entailed by this kinship.
Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization
Author: J. C. McKeown
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Category: Literary Criticism
The ancient Greeks were a wonderful people. They gave us democracy, drama, and philosophy, and many forms of art and branches of science would be inconceivable without their influence. And yet, they were capable of the most outlandish behavior, preposterous beliefs, and ludicrous opinions. Like its companion volume, A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities, this is an uproarious miscellany of odd stories and facts, culled from a lifetime of teaching ancient Greek civilization. In some ways, the book demonstrates how much the Greeks were like us. Politicians were regarded as shallow and self-serving; overweight people resorted to implausible diets; Socrates and the king of Sparta used to entertain their children by riding around on a stick pretending it was a horse. Of course, their differences from us are abundantly documented too and the book may leave readers with a few incredulous questions. To ward off evil, were scapegoats thrown down from cliffs, though fitted out with feathers and live birds to give them a sporting chance of survival? Did a werewolf really win the boxing event at the Olympic Games? Were prisoners released on bail so that they could enjoy dramatic festivals? Did anyone really believe that Pythagoras flew about on a magic arrow? Other such mysteries abound in this quirky and richly illustrated journey into the "glory that was Greece." "The loveliest thing on the black earth." Sappho of Lesbos "Well worth getting a copy." Pisistratus of Athens "Meticulously written, a must for every library." Ptolemy of Alexandria "Unputdownable." Atlas the Titan "Fantastic! Incredible!" Cassandra, priestess of Apollo "The ideal gift." Laocoon of Troy "Not too long." Callimachus of Cyrene "I find something new every time I dip in." Archimedes of Syracuse
In 1946 the first of the Dead Sea Scroll discoveries was made near the site of Qumran, at the northern end of the Dead Sea. Despite the much publicized delays in the publication and editing of the Scrolls, practically all of them had been made public by the time of the fiftieth anniversary of the first discovery. That occasion was marked by a spate of major publications that attempted to sum up the state of scholarship at the end of the twentieth century, including The Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (OUP 2000). These publications produced an authoritative synthesis to which the majority of scholars in the field subscribed, granted disagreements in detail. A decade or so later, The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls has a different objective and character. It seeks to probe the main disputed issues in the study of the Scrolls. Lively debate continues over the archaeology and history of the site, the nature and identity of the sect, and its relation to the broader world of Second Temple Judaism and to later Jewish and Christian tradition. It is the Handbook's intention here to reflect on diverse opinions and viewpoints, highlight the points of disagreement, and point to promising directions for future research.
Sorabji surveys a vast range of Greek philosophical texts and considers how classical discussions of animals' capacities intersect with central questions, not only in ethics but in the definition of human rationality as well.
For anyone who has ever wondered about the ethics of killing animals for food, this is the definitive collection of essays on the ethical debate. Written by internationally recognized scholars on both sides of the debate, the provocative articles here compiled will give vegetarians and meat-eaters a thorough grounding in all aspects of this controversial issue. After an introduction to the nature of the debate by editor Steve F. Sapontzis, Daniel Dombrowski reviews the history of vegetarianism. There follows a discussion of health issues and what anthropology has to tell us about human diet. Also included are the classic cases for vegetarianism from philosophers Peter Singer and Tom Regan, and new essays rebutting those classic positions from humanists Roger Scruton and Carl Cohen, among others. Various scholars then examine religious teachings about eating animals, which are drawn from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as Native American and Eastern traditions. Finally, Carol J. Adams, Deanne Curtin, and Val Plumwood, among other outstanding advocates, debate the ethics of eating meat in connection with feminism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism. Containing virtually a "Who’s Who" of philosophers, social critics, environmentalists, feminists, and religious scholars who have participated in the vegetarianism debate over the past quarter century, this outstanding anthology of expert articles, most of them new, provides the latest thinking on a subject of increasing public interest.
What did the ancient Greeks eat and drink? What role did migration play? Why was emperor Nero popular with the ordinary people but less so with the upper classes? Why (according to ancient authors) was Oedipus ('with swollen foot') so called? For over 2,000 years the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome have captivated our collective imagination and provided inspiration for so many aspects of our lives, from culture, literature, drama, cinema, and television to society, education, and politics. Many of the roots of the way life is lived in the West today can be traced to the ancient civilizations, not only in politics, law, technology, philosophy, and science, but also in social and family life, language, and art. Beautiful illustrations, clear and authoritative entries, and a useful chronology and bibliography make this Companion the perfect guide for readers interested in learning more about the Graeco-Roman world. As well as providing sound information on all aspects of classical civilization such as history, politics, ethics, morals, law, society, religion, mythology, science and technology, language, literature, art, and scholarship, the entries in the Companion reflect the changing interdisciplinary aspects of classical studies, covering broad thematic subjects, such as race, nationalism, gender, ethics, and ecology, confirming the impact classical civilizations have had on the modern world.
As the study of later ancient philosophy has developed in recent years, it has offered new insights into both the continuing vigour of the Greco-Roman philosophical tradition and the interaction of that tradition with the new cultures of Christianity and of the Arab community. This volume addresses a key figure in this interaction. Porphyry (234?c.305 AD) was not only the greatest pupil of Plotinus and editor of his work but also a significant philosopher in his own right. Many aspects of Porphyry's work have been re-appraised in recent years in the light of renewed interest in Neoplatonism as in later ancient philosophy in general. New editions and translations of Porphyry's works have appeared enabling up-to-date discussion of issues such as his loyalty to the views of Plotinus, his attitude to Aristotle, his relationship to the culture of his time, and his afterlife in later Platonist commentators on Aristotle, in the Christian fathers, and in the Arabic tradition. A distinguished international group of scholars address these topics in this volume: Andrew Smith, Steven Strange, Riccardo Chiaradonna, Richard Sorabji, Anne Sheppard, Peter Lautner, George Karamanolis, Mark Edwards, Gillian Clark, and Peter Adamson. The papers were all given at a conference held at the Institute of Classical Studies in July 2004.
This study attempts to answer the question of the origins of the non-biblical features of the Essenes' way of life. It is clear that their project was founded in biblical and Jewish realities. Where did those elements come from that appear not to have been derived from these sources? That they have their origins in Greek, and specifically Pythagorean, customs is an idea that recurs regularly in the history of scholarship and has had some notable supporters in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, including E Zeller, E Schuer, I Levy, F C Cumont and M J Lagrange. Recent scholars seem more reluctant to accept such views. The inquiry will take the reader through the available sources, then a series of comparative studies with possible parallels in Greece and elsewhere, to see whether and in what terms the question of Pythagorean influences on Essenism can be answered.