Yutaka Tani, God, Man and Domesticated Animals: The Birth of Shepherds and Their Descendants in the Ancient Near East
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This book is a fascinating exploration into how European attitudes that measure human achievements according to the extent of control over nature is a cultural and historical product of the ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean world. The subject matter is the emergence of domestication, the history and role of shepherds, and the Bible. The book is comprised of two parts. Drawing on fieldwork spanning more than four decades, Part I looks at the domestication process of sheep and goats and the emergence of the profession of shepherd. Here the author analyzes the intervention techniques involved in the domestication process using Foucault’s concept of ‘pastoral power’. Part II focuses on how God’s pronouncements concerning animals in the Old Testament came to take unique forms in the ancient Middle East reflecting the relationships between city-states’ ruling chiefs as large herd owners and local pastoralists as entrusted shepherds pivoting around domesticated animal life.





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