E. D. Buckner’s the Immortality of Animals (1903)

Author: Bruckner, E.D.
Buckner’s 1903 treatise argues for the moral necessity of reparation for animal suffering, and emphasizes the evil of cruelty. Dedicated to various American animal protection societies, it provides a unique insight into the discussion of the status of animals at the turn of the century.


“Rod Preece’s Introduction and Notes on Buckner’s book The Immortality of Animals make the book relevant and interesting for modern audiences. I am impressed by the breadth of scholarship brought to bear on the subject, which intellectually inclined readers will find enjoyable and enlightening. By pointing out the prevalent worldviews and intellectual commitments of the 19th-century thinkers, the modern reader appreciates the strengths and weaknesses of Buckner’s arguments. Many of Buckner’s comments that would seem bizarre or offensive to contemporary readers make sense when understood in the context of 19th-century thought. After gaining an appreciation for Buckner’s intellectual environment, the reader may appreciate Buckner’s book as thoughtful, creative, and compassionate. Preece has done an outstanding job with this effort, and I commend his work.” – Stephen Kaufman, M. D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University and Northeast Ohio Universities College of Medicine

“Preece’s introduction and annotation offer an illuminating path through the different layers of movements and world-views of the time….Preece shows in a clarifying way that Buckner’s interpretation of the ‘scala natura’ – or ‘the mighty chain of living beings,’ as Buckner puts it – is related to previous thought, from that of classical Greece to that of Buckner’s contemporaries. This leads to a nuanced description of how Buckner understands this concept….In spite of all his examples of previous theologians arguing for a respectful treatment of animals, Buckner seems to feel that traditional theology is unduly hierarchical and anthropocentric. From reading Singer, Linzey and Grässer some one hundred years later, one may well conclude that neither the tension between hierarchical and egalitarian Christianity, nor that between secular and Christian animal ethics, has yet been overcome. For those with an interest in overcoming these tensions, or who seek elaboration and insights in a historically less dominant, but nonetheless very vivid, Christian tradition of animal ethics, Preece’s edition of Buckner’s book provides a most valuable contribution.” – Helena Röcklinsberg, Research Fellow of the research Program: Ethics in Biomedicine of Uppsala University, Sweden

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword by Dr. Stephen R. L. Clark
Editor’s Introduction and Notes
The Immortality of Animals
Preface; Introduction
· Interpretations of the Bible
· The Garden of Eden
· Christian Era
· The New Testament animals’ best friend
· The Bible teaches the immortality of animals
· Animals promised a Paradise
· Natural theology’
· Physiology and natural theology
· Instances of animal intelligence
· Instinct is immortal
· Anatomical analogy of animals
· Chemical composition of animals
· Infelicity of animals
· Future abode of animals
· Man as guardian of the lower animals
· Means of preventing cruelty
· Some prominent evils
Editor’s notes