Studies in Christian Ethics 30 (1):3-14 (2017)

Israelites lived intimately with their livestock, as members of a single household, and this had an effect on their understanding of human identity—as Leviticus expresses it, of God’s call to Israel to be holy. Leviticus treats eating and ritual sacrifice as practices of embodied holiness, elements of an enacted symbol system designed to enable Israelites to live with integrity before God and in relation to nonhuman animals. The understanding expressed through that system is genuinely agrarian: humans find their wellbeing and their identity in relation to the wellbeing of the land and its nonhuman inhabitants. Through the Eucharist, Christians identify with Christ the Lamb. Understood in light of Leviticus, that identification challenges us to see the connection between sacramental eating and our relation to other animals.
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DOI 10.1177/0953946816674145
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