- Dictionary of Ethics, Theology and Society ed. by Paul Barry Clarke and Andrew Linzey
This is the unaltered reissue of a useful reference book from the mid-1990s. Its aim was to advance dialogue between Judaeo-Christian traditions of faith and practice and a range of key ethical issues, pointing out areas of mutual influence and generally helping readers to navigate morally relativistic waters. Oxford theologian Andrew Linzey is one of the editors, which has helped ensure more representation for issues of animal ethics than might otherwise have been expected in a book of this vintage.
There are around 250 entries, varying in length from under a thousand to nearly 10,000 words, with many in the 1,000- to 2,000-word range. A number of leading theologians from the second half of the 20th century are among the contributors. Articles set out to provide an overview of options and the history of each particular issue. The amount of bibliography provided by each author varies significantly.
Entries relevant to the theme of this journal appear to be limited to 13, or just over 5% (i.e., a bit under 50 pages). They are "animal rights," "countryside," "creation" (by the fine theologian Dan Hardy), "cruelty," "environment," "farming" (with a discussion of the mechanization, commodification, and "thingification" of animals), "green," "hunting," "speciesism," "suffering," "vegetarianism," "vivisection," and "zoos." Andrew Linzey is either author or coauthor of most of these, which shows how he has sought to secure a place for animal ethics in this volume.
There is a lot of excellent, balanced material here. Perhaps this project was undertaken because earlier versions are out of print and, hence, not widely available. Well and good, but an updated edition would have made an even stronger claim to our attention.
SCOTT COWDELL is research professor in public and contextual theology at Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia, and canon theologian of the Canberra-Goulburn Anglican Diocese. He is the author of seven books, most recently René Girard and Secular Modernity: Christ, Culture, and Crisis (University of Notre Dame Press, 2013). Email: email@example.com