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Religions 2019, 10(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010025

The Theology of Dog Training in Vicki Hearne’s Adam’s Task

Department of Religion, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA 99362, USA
Received: 7 October 2018 / Revised: 27 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 1 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals and World Religions)
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Abstract

“The Theology of Dog Training” demonstrates the rich and surprising ways in which religion plays a primary role in how people make sense of their relationships with their companion animals. In the first sustained analysis of Adam’s Task in religious studies, I argue that feminist writer and dog trainer Vicki Hearne describes a form of relational redemption that allows for the restoration of a prelapsarian language between humans and animals; a recovery of a time before humans sinned against God and subsequently lost their authority over animals. Training, which begins with the act of naming a dog and bringing them into the moral life, is Hearne’s attempt to restore what was lost in the Fall for both humans and animals. In making this argument, I join a growing community of scholars who are committed to bringing animal studies to the academic study of religion. In addition to analyzing religion as it occurs in non-institutional spaces, I examine phenomena that would not necessarily be considered religious, but, as I show, make ethical and religious claims on human–canine relationships. By investigating institutions, texts, and practices in contemporary America that traditionally have not been identified as religious, my article shows how religious beliefs and forms can help us build an ethics of multispecies relations. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal ethics; animal studies; dog training; redemption; gender and animals; Donna Haraway; Vicki Hearne; the Book of Genesis; Adam and Eve; sin animal ethics; animal studies; dog training; redemption; gender and animals; Donna Haraway; Vicki Hearne; the Book of Genesis; Adam and Eve; sin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Mershon, K. The Theology of Dog Training in Vicki Hearne’s Adam’s Task. Religions 2019, 10, 25.

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