Nature and Pagan Spirituality: Human/Animal Relationships N6270B

Instructors: Christine Kraemer, PhD & Barbara Davy, PhD

Class meetings: Tuesdays, 9pm ET

Prerequisites: None;  Introduction to Pagan Theology C5141 recommended.

This course provides students with an opportunity to examine earth-centered spiritual perspectives and scholarship on human/nature relationships. In addition to a broad selection of readings on ecotheology, we will focus in on relationships between humans and animals, as well as on understandings of human beings as animals.

Topics may include the commercialization of nature spirituality; sacred sites; differences between pantheistic and animistic theologies; hunting, meat eating, and animal sacrifice; and the role of animal spirits for Native peoples. In conversation with other writers, we will reflect on the role of nature in Pagan spirituality and also contextualize current Pagan writings about nature religion, paying particular attention to the topics of animal spirits and religious practices involving animals. Students will be required to assess the role of nature in their own ministry and that of their particular communities, and to produce critical and constructive writing on nature religion and nature spirituality.

Fulfills the Area I requirement for a course in theology and practice. This class will meet with the PCE course The Sacred Earth: Human/Animal Relationships.

Required Texts:

  • Abram, David. Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. Pantheon, 2010. ISBN: 9780375421716
  • Berry, Thomas and Mary Evelyn Tucker. The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-first Century. Columbia University Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780231149525
  • Ivakhiv, Adrian J. Claiming Sacred Ground: Pilgrims and Politics at Glastonbury and Sedona. Indiana University Press, 2001. ISBN: 9780253338990
  • Nelson, Richard. Heart and Blood: Living with Deer in America. Vintage, 1998. ISBN: 9780679736868

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