Course Content (Syllabus)
The course surveys firstly some general features of the animals and how they are treated by the writers of the books of the New Testament and their contemporaries Jews and Gentiles in the early years of the Church. Then a more specific analysis of selected pericopes of the New Testament is presented, where some species have a dominant symbolism. They are connected with worship and work, nutrition and hygiene but mainly it is examined how they function symbolically as a means for enemy forces, which results in people avoiding any contact with them.
This course focuses only on the real animals and not on the mythical ones, even if the latter are unfortunately more popular to the Christian readers of the biblical texts. It is particularly important to survey why almost all the animals, with only two exceptions, are treated by the writers of religious texts of Judaism and Christianity as symbolic manifestations of evil in the world.