Theologians and scholars have been exploring Christianity’s relationship with animals for years—often concluding that Christians have an important and biblical responsibility to animals. We’ve picked out our top five favorite animal theology books for you! Don’t see your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments.
1. Animal Gospel by Andrew Linzey
Linzey is often cited as the leading authority on animals and Christian theology. If you’re new to animal theology or want a good overview of how Christian beliefs and ethics should inform our treatment of animals, this book is perfect for you! In Animal Gospel, Linzey lays out why animal suffering is an issue for Christians and the Church by reexamining dominion as a call of merciful responsibility to the most vulnerable.
2. A Faith Embracing All Creatures: Addressing Commonly Asked Questions About Christian Care for Animals, edited by Tripp York and Andy Alexis-Baker
This book addresses some of the most commonly asked questions of Christians who advocate for animals—what’s the purpose of animals? Did Jesus eat meat? What about sacrifices in the Bible? Didn’t God give humans dominion over other creatures? This thoughtful collection of essays is perfect for equipping you with the answers you need to clear up some of the most misunderstood biblical passages about animals.
3. For Love of Animals: Chistian Ethics, Consistent Action by Charlie Camosy
For Love of Animals takes a thorough look at our Christian responsibility to the animal kingdom. Camosy uses both scripture and Catholic tradition to explore current issues, from factory farming to animal testing. And it takes a close look at what may be the most ethical and Christ-centered diet for Christians today. Camosy has also published numerous thought-provoking articles, including “Can Christianity Take Vegetarianism Mainstream?”
4. Animal Theology by Andrew Linzey
In Animal Theology, Linzey seeks to engage Christians about their relationship with animals by reexamining God’s original intent for dominion. Although some Christians have used their unique relationship with God to justify cruelty to animals, Linzey suggests that our special vocation requires great responsibility for the vulnerable and oppressed. This book is more in-depth than Animal Gospel and has been the resource for Christians and theologians interested in why Christians should care about the issue of animal suffering.
5. Living With Other Creatures: Green Exegesis and Theology by Richard Bauckham
Living With Other Creatures mines the entire biblical canon and thought from notable historical Christian ecologists to develop a comprehensive ethic of care for God’s creation and reminds readers of our rightful place in it. Marked by careful exegesis and compelling writing, this is a must-read for any Christian seeking to know more about what the Bible says about the human relationship with other creatures.
On Animals: Volume I: Systematic Theology by David L. Clough
This volume is a project in systematic theology—a rigorous engagement with the Christian tradition in relation to animals. Clough’s work examines the human relationship to other animals through the doctrines of creation, reconciliation, and redemption and in dialog with the biblical and theological voices central to Christian tradition. The book shows that such engagement with the tradition with the question of animals in mind produces surprising answers that challenge modern anthropocentric assumptions.