Reviews & Comments
From All-Creatures Book, CD and Video Review Guide
Reviewed By: Frank and Mary Hoffman
We are seeing more and more books being written by compassionate Bible scholars who passionately believe that we have been misinterpreting the Bible when it comes to our stewardship of the earth and all it contains (humans, non-humans, and the environment). Ian A. Stuart's The Animals' Bible is one of those books; however, his approach is unique.
We found one of Ian Stuart's statements quite profound, when he was talking about his own development and his instinctive compassionate attitude toward animals and the way adults tried to destroy such sensitivities: "...no matter how earnestly adults try, they cannot fool children. The young have an uncanny way of adding two and two and coming up with hypocrisy." The Animals' Bible cuts through all this hypocrisy!
In The Animals' Bible, we are taken on a step by step journey through the pages of the Bible, Apocrypha and other references, to come to an understanding of the intent of both God and the original writers, and in turn, of our own responsibility as stewards of God's earthly creation.
In The Animals' Bible we also find ourselves on a spiritual journey with the author as he awakens to God's intent for us to be His loving and compassion caretakers of the earth. Many of us may differ in specific Biblical interpretations, but the commonality of our quest to understand God's intention for a cruelty-free world is most evident in Ian Stuart's book.
We highly recommend that you, too, take this spiritual and compassionate journey with Ian Stuart through the pages of The Animals' Bible.
Frank & Mary Hoffman
Comment By: Nancy Ryan, RN from Belleville, Ontario
“I am so impressed by your incredible accomplishment in writing this book. Once the word gets out I am sure all the animal rights and animal welfare groups will get on the band wagon. The "forward" is pretty high praise and rightly so. WOW WOW. I had the box torn apart to get at the book before I got out of the post office and then spent 20 minutes reading, sitting in the parking lot of the mall! Your epilogue made the hairs on my neck stand up. I hope for the sake of all the animals that your book will start a new era of genuine respect and reverence for the other creatures who share their earth with us. GOOD JOB!!!!
Reviewed By: Marlene Y. Satter
The Animals’ Bible
Thirteenth Level Media
Hardcover $39.95 (499pp)
Animal lovers often wonder about the use of biblical quotations to justify the many ways in which people fail to be kind: confining animals in zoos and factory farms, beating or starving them, hunting, fishing, holding cockfights or dogfights, and, finally, eating them. In the introduction to his monumental work, The Animals’ Bible, Ian Stuart writes that even his child self found it difficult to reconcile the images of Christ as both shepherd and Lamb of God, with the very real leg of lamb on his plate. A hymn that spoke of God’s concern for the sparrow conflicted with the reality Stuart knew: while God might be aware of its fall, still the sparrow did fall to earth and God did not stop its descent. And when as a boy Stuart buried a sparrow that died after colliding with a window, his mother roundly scolded him for marking its grave with crossed Popsicle sticks and saying a prayer over it: “Birds don’t have souls!”
How does God really feel about animals? Does God truly surrender them to man to treat and mistreat as he chooses? Does God not have compassion for these other creatures He created? Such moving dilemmas set Stuart on the five- year path that resulted in this book.
In a beautiful edition that befits its compassionate purpose, this is a book animal lovers will want to own—although many passages will be difficult to read because of the suffering and death animals have endured throughout Scripture. Stuart has found in the Bible and the Apocrypha all passages relating to animals, from creation to the serpent in the Garden; from the creatures sailing with Noah on the ark to Balaam’s ass, which spoke to him; and to those animals in New Testament miracles.
Stuart, determined and eloquent, interprets passages and attitudes of both Old and New Testament to argue that Christ came not only to save man, but animals as well. As Stuart reminds us: “God saw that [his creation] was good.” Specifically, animals should be protected from sacrifice, brutal treatment, and the hunter’s snares. “If we had to see every creature as the temple of God’s spirit, it would utterly change the way we treat them…perhaps, change the way we relate to each other.”
Stuart’s words will be welcomed by those who seek arguments for the kind treatment of animals. And the epilogue will bring tears to readers’ eyes. (July 2010)
Review date: November 2010.
Small Press Bookwatch - The Christian Studies Shelf
Reviewed By: MidWest Book Review
Where does the rest of the animal kingdom sit in the kingdom of God? "The Animals' Bible" seeks to ask the Bible questions about the status of animals in God's plan. From the existence of a non-human soul to if exploiting animals for our own gain is a sin, Ian A. Stuart asks a wide array of questions and offers much thought in answers for those who wonder about their furry friends. Scholarly and insightful. "The Animals' Bible" is a collection that shouldn't be overlooked.
Benjamin Franklyn Award
Reviewed By: Anonymous Book Judge
This book was a well-done work of research, compilation, and coordination on an intriguing and uniqe subject. I was impressed with the minute details the author pulled from the bible and other religious writings, and the consistency with which he wrote. I liked the way the author began at the beginning of the Bible and went through it as it is written today; it made it much easier to use this book in researching other items and in reading this work based on the reader's present knowledge. The material found in the Appendix was wonderful, and the Subject Index was quite complete. I thought the book was terrific, and I can think of nothing that would increase its worth or make it easier to read.
Review of “The Animals Bible”
Reviewed By: Diane Silverman
The title "The Animals' Bible" fascinated me, and when I read the Introduction I knew it was something I just had to read. I, too, as a young child had an experience similar to the author. My budgie had died, and my best friend and I, on a hot summer day, garbed in ceremonial dress, proceeded to bury my bird in my father's rock garden, cardboard Cross and all. Although my roots were Jewish, The Star of David had proved just too difficult to make. Yet we knew we had to acknowledge and celebrate the existence of God's little creature in some way. No words were ever exchanged between my father and me, but the next day the marker was gone and the little shoebox bearing my tiny friend's remains were carted away in the gardener's wheelbarrow.
I never forgot the hurt. Had I offended my father's religious roots or were animals just not worthy of such a gesture because we all knew that surely animals did not have souls.
When you read the three sections of Stuart's book - "The Animals' Old Testament", "The Animals' Apocrypha", and "The Animals' New Testament" - his explanations and interpretation of the scriptures leave no doubt. Animals do have souls and they are as much a part of Yahweh, God, the Creator, as we ourselves. As Stuart puts it, "He is, after all, their God as well as ours."
This is a remarkable work with a Foreword by the world’s leading expert on animals and religion. The research is breathtaking, comprehensive and awe-inspiring. The message straightforward: Our responsibility is to respect and to take care of one another, and that responsibility includes those creatures who cannot speak for themselves. We, and the animal kingdom, together, as God's instruments, all have a purpose, and that purpose is defined by God alone.
Animals do what they have been ordained to do. Surely, that cannot mean that they are to be sacrificed to atone for our sins; that they are to be objects of our entertainment; existing only to satisfy our whims and appetites, or to be victims of abuse to assuage our own frustrations and fears.
Ian's words had a profound effect upon my perceptions. Why did I not see the obvious before? Perhaps I did, but Mr. Stuart has redefined so much for me. I have been enlightened in a much more spiritual way. When I now see a fly, I look at it differently. I still fear snakes. I'm repulsed by them. But all living things have their role in the complex web of life. We come from the same Supreme force, and it is that force that has put us on this planet to live in harmony and peace. We can learn so much from the different species, and this author takes us on an incredible journey to show us just how much we can and have evolved.
It's all in the Bible, and Ian Stuart's endeavour is masterful and scholarly. Stick with it. "The Animals' Bible" is not always an easy read; it can be quite academic and intricate in detail, but it is both memorable and inspirational.
You will keep this book for reference. I know I will refer to it again and again. And each time I see a four-legged creature or any member of the the other species that share our world, I will smile and remember that he, or she, is part of God's creation and has a rightful place in the universe.
Ira Therebel's Review on GoodReads
Reviewed By: Ira Therebel
I myself am an agnostic. I assume there is a possibility of God but don't believe in religion. The main reason I read this book is because the hardest for me to discuss animal rights is when I meet a religious person who just tells me that God put animals on Earth for us to use so there is nothing wrong with what we are doing. I am always lost there because I don't know how to respond. The best is to present arguments that the person will accept and that come from his beliefs. And this is where I don't know much.
I was very excited to receive this book. This is what I was looking for.Since Ian Stuart is someone who both believes in God and also doesn't accept that the religion that is about love would accept cruelty towards animals he did a wonderful job looking through Bible and presenting some great arguments, interpretations and quotes that support the idea that God loves us all and cares about everyone, including the animals.
He did a great job here, it is amazing how many times animals are mentioned in the Bible. Besides interpreting the quotes he also gives us an idea on the attitude towards different animals at the times certain parts of the Book were written which can explain how they were mentioned. It is interesting that one of the most loved animals these days, the dog, was one of the most vilified ones.
The Animal's Bible goes through many different topics, like sacrifice, whether animals are aware of God, the diet of Adam and Eve, if animals go to heaven, how come they are made to suffer for our sins etc.
It is a bit of a heavy read from time to time, but it is time someone wrote something like that. I definitely will use it as a reference for many quotes in my future conversations on this issue. And it is something that should be read by people of faith who want to know more on the issue or about Bible and also by the ones who want to fight cruelty against animals and need to learn about it from religious perspective. I really liked this book.