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Abstract

The author aims to retrieve and creatively develop a strand of Christian thought, stretching from early Christian interpretations of biblical data through the hagiographies of the saints into modern Christian thought, which provides a foundation for concern over the welfare of nonhuman animals. To provide the framework for this strand, the author explores the theology of Irenaeus of Lyons and Ephrem the Syrian. First, he considers their positions regarding the place of nonhuman animals in protology and eschatology. Then, he notes their view that the created order is in via toward its eschatological consummation. With this framework in place, he turns to other voices in the Christian tradition, including the hagiographies of the saints, in order to further develop the framework. Ultimately, the author suggests that, within this particular strand of Christian thought, the further a human being progresses along the path of redemption, the more he or she ought to serve as a prolepsis of eschatological hope, which includes peaceful relationships between humans and animals.