Special Issue "Animals and World Religions"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Anna Peterson

Department of Religion, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: social ethics; environmental ethics; animal studies; religion and society

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, nonhuman animals have become an important focus of scholarly work in the humanities and social sciences. Anthropologists, literary scholars, historians, philosophers, and others have examined diverse issues including the significance of animals in art and literature, the role of real animals in economics, politics, and war, human moral attitudes toward animals, and a host of other issues. 

Animals play an important role in almost all religions, including world religions as well as smaller native traditions.  Religious studies scholars have addressed topics such as animal sacrifice, animals in sacred stories and myths, symbolic animals such as totems, animal deities, and animals as moral exemplars or villains.  The literature has grown in recent years, but it remains small and scattered. 

This special issue on animals in world religions aims to explore important and interesting contemporary scholarship on the topic.  Our scope is deliberately broad – we hope to receive articles that examine many different religious traditions, in different historical periods and geographic regions.  We prefer articles that focus on concrete questions and arguments, rather than on broad surveys or overviews.  We also prefer studies that look at the place, treatment, and experiences of real animals in religious communities and practices. 

Studies of symbolic or mythical animals are also welcome, but we are especially interested in those that add a new dimension to the literature, either by employing innovative theoretical and methodological approaches or showcasing unfamiliar topics.  In all cases, the goals are to expand scholarly understanding and knowledge of the important place of nonhuman animals in religious thought and practice.

The journal issue will provide a valuable complement to the existing literature, by extending the range of religious traditions addressed, by encouraging innovative approaches, and by focusing on studies of real rather than purely symbolic or mythical animals.

Prof. Dr. Anna Peterson
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • animals
  • animals and religion
  • animal ethics
  • species
  • animal studies
  • post-humanism
  • nature

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle The Theology of Dog Training in Vicki Hearne’s Adam’s Task
Religions 2019, 10(1), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010025
Received: 7 October 2018 / Revised: 27 December 2018 / Accepted: 29 December 2018 / Published: 1 January 2019
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“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 [...] Read more.
“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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animals and World Religions)
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