Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Thinking with Crocodiles: An Iconic Animal at the Intersection of Early-Modern Religion and Natural Philosophy

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Early Science and Medicine

This paper seeks to explore how culturally and religiously significant animals could shape discourses in which they were deployed, taking the crocodile as its case study. Beginning with the textual and visual traditions linking the crocodile with Africa and the Middle East, I read sixteenth- and seventeenth-century travel narratives categorizing American reptiles as “crocodiles” rather than “alligators,” as attempts to mitigate the disruptive strangeness of the Americas. The second section draws on Ann Blair’s study of “Mosaic Philosophy” to examine scholarly debates over the taxonomic identity of the biblical Leviathan. I argue that the language and analytical tools of natural philosophy progressively permeated religious discourse. Finally, a survey of more than 25 extant examples of the premodern practice of displaying crocodiles in churches, as well as other crocodilian elements in Christian iconography, provides an explanation for the ubiquity of crocodiles in Wunderkammern, as natural philosophy appropriated ecclesial visual vocabularies.

Affiliations: 1: Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Early Science and Medicine — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation