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Dehumanised Sinners And Their Instruments Of Sin: Men And Animals In Early Modern Bestiality Cases, Austria 1500–1800

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Chapter Summary

Christian theologians emphasized faith and religion as further characteristics of human superiority, whereas philosophers and scientists cited technical abilities such as the effective use of tools. In one interpretation of Genesis, animals were divine and innocent creatures, living free from original sin. With the exception of some critics, the early modern intellectual elite agreed upon human superiority. Animals were perceived as creatures in the service and for the use of humans. Several individuals and groups ran the risk of dehumanisation on a judicial and social level. The Christian order of sexuality established a hierarchy of good and bad activities. In order to reach a verdict in cases punishable by death, courts were obliged to send the records to legal scholars working for the Lower Austrian government.

Keywords: Christian; dehumanisation; human superiority; Lower Austrian government; sin



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