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date: 26 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the treatment of animals from various texts during the period from late antiquity to early Christianity. It discusses the references to animals in the New Testament and their use for sacrifice in the Roman Empire. It considers texts about the desert ascetics’ description of the habitat of wild and dangerous animals and their encounters with them and the use of animals in allegories and fables to provide moral models that are based on biblical texts. This chapter also analyses the justification for eating meat and describes the changes in ancient conceptions of animals when Christianity became the dominant religion.

Keywords: animals, late antiquity, early Christianity, New Testament, animal sacrifice, Roman Empire, ascetics, allegories, fables, moral models

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