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When God Was a BirdChristianity, Animism, and the Re-Enchantment of the World$
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Mark I. Wallace

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823281329

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823281329.001.0001

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Crossing the Species Divide

(p.1) Introduction
When God Was a Bird

Mark I. Wallace

Fordham University Press

At one time, God was a bird. But it is said that Christianity evolved away from its animocentric origins in order to defend a pure form of monotheism. This narrative, however, misses the startling scriptural portrayals of God as the beaked and feathered Holy Spirit—the third member of the Trinity who is the “animal God” of historic Christian witness. Appearing as a winged creature at the time of Jesus’ baptism (Luke 3:21-22), the bird-God of the New Testament signals the deep grounding of biblical faith in the natural world. The Introduction calls this perspective “Christian animism” in order to signal the dialectical relationship between biblical religion and the beliefs of indigenous communities that Spirit enfleshes itself within all beings on Earth. It argues that all things are alive with sacred personhood and worthy of human beings’ love and protection in a time of massive environmental devastation.

Keywords:   animocentric, Christian animism, Christianity, Holy Spirit, monotheism, New Testament

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