Anne Benvenuti


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Spirit Unleashed

"In Spirit Unleashed, Anne Benvenuti uses analysis of real encounters with wild animals to take us on an intellectual tour of our thinking about animals by way of biological sciences, scientific psychology, philosophy, and theology to show that we have been wrong in our understanding of ourselves amongst other animals. The good news is that we can correct our course and make ourselves happier in the process. Drawing us into encounters with a desert rattlesnake, an offended bonobo, an injured fawn, a curious whale, a determined woodpecker, and others, she gives us a glimpse of their souls. Benvenuti strongly makes the case that to change the way we think about animals—and our way of relating to them—holds the possibility of changing all life on Earth for the better."

Published by Wipf and Stock, 2014 and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize (non-fiction), 2015.


Just published!

My essay, “A Sexual Communion of Subjects: The Way of Uncomfortable Knowledge (Somatic Psychology and Sexual Theology)” is published in Contemporary Theological Approaches to Sexuality, edited by Lisa Isherwood and Dirk von der Horst, 2017. Available now from Routledge UK.

"Riveting and provocative! The focus on bodily theology, its up-to-date cutting edge research on topics from early Christian monasticism to contemporary pop music, the orientation toward redress of injustices, and the refutation of simplistic media-fostered ideas that all religious views of sexuality are conservative, make this volume a must-read for those who want to keep up with the ongoing theological discourse about sexuality."

Barbara Darling-Smith, Wheaton College, Massachusetts, USA.

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Animal Sentience

You can download a copy of Evolutionary Continuity of Personhood, my invited response to Mark Rowlands' Are Animals Persons? Published in Animal Sentience: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Animal Feeling, 2016.

From the abstract to the essay:

"Rowlands describes certain fundamentals of mental experience that exist across species boundaries, challenging assumptions of early modern philosophers regarding the definition of human personhood and affirming the principle of evolutionary continuity. This opens the door to a broader and deeper set of questions, related to whether we should continue to attempt to apply to other animals—or to ourselves—philosophical models that are ancient and revered but contradicted in significant measure by contemporary scientific findings, especially in evolutionary biology."