Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture <p><em>The Journal of Religion, Nature and Culture, </em>which has been published quarterly since 2007<em>,</em> explores through the social and natural sciences the complex relationships among human beings, their diverse 'religions' (broadly and diversely defined) and the earth's living systems, while providing a venue for analysis and debate over what constitutes an ethically appropriate relationship between our own species and the environments we inhabit. <a href="">Read more.</a></p> Equinox Publishing Ltd. en-US Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 1749-4907 <p>© Equinox Publishing Ltd.</p> <p>For information regarding our Open Access policy, <a title="Open access policy." href="Full%20details of our conditions related to copyright can be found by clicking here.">click here</a>.</p> Special Issue Introduction <p>.</p> Carrie B. Dohe Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-12-14 2020-12-14 14 3 315 323 10.1558/jsrnc.42365 Bears as Benefactors? Bear Veneration as Apicultural Risk Management in Roman Spain <p>Worship of bear deities in pre-Roman and Roman Spain seems to have occurred for rather pragmatic reasons&nbsp; having more to do with the activities of bears rather than bears themselves. I&nbsp; show that this reverence originated in an important mode of subsistence in Iron Age and Roman central Spain, beekeeping, upon which the predatory habits of the bear, common in the Peninsula until recent centuries, came increasingly to encroach. I demonstrate that Latin votive dedications made to a Celtiberian deity named Arco in the region of Segovia during the early Principate should ultimately be considered as a remection of the importance of indigenous honey production. By conceptualizing Arco, whose name in Celtiberian meant ‘bear’, as a rationalization of apicultural risk, we gain a powerful new tool in understanding both the importance of beekeeping in the Iberian Peninsula and how intimately connected in some areas it was with bears.</p> David Wallace-Hare Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-12-14 2020-12-14 14 3 324 350 10.1558/jsrnc.38579 Samson and the Bees as a Myth <p>In this article I suggest that the biblical Samson story (Judges 13–16, 18) is a late reconstruction of a pagan myth recounting the life, deeds, and death of Samson the magician. When Samson senses that his death is imminent, he performs a private resurrection ritual for himself, in which bees, accompanied by a lion, play a central role. As in myths from some neighboring cultures, in the Samson myth bees are blessed with the supernatural power to return to life in the spring after dying in the winter and to resurrect the whole of nature. The bees swarming in the cadaver of the lion Samson kills bring the lion back to life in their own form. Samson, who in many ways resembles both a bee and a lion, performs magic based on resemblance to ensure his future return to life.</p> Mattat Adar Bunis Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-12-14 2020-12-14 14 3 351 369 10.1558/jsrnc.38751 A Taste of Honey <p>The production and consumption of honey have inspired linguistic and visual metaphors in letters, folk customs, and the plastic arts. The images conveying the honey metaphor in medieval and modern Jewish art emphasized the operations with and about honey: the human or animal appetite for it and enjoyment in its consumption, as well as its mysterious production and courageous protection by the bees. The natural phenomenon of bee honey and bodily reactions to it was symbolically projected to represent human intellectual learning. Visual implementations of the honey metaphor in Hebrew books and synagogues and on Jewish ritual objects moralized nature in order to propagate aspiration for divine wisdom.</p> Ilia Rodov Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-12-14 2020-12-14 14 3 370 394 10.1558/jsrnc.38824 The Bees of Rome <p>In Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil used bees to lgure human spirits in the Underworld. This was not the earliest association of bees with death and the afterlife, but it was the lrst such link in European literature. Virgil’s bees lgured those spirits who would become Aeneas’ descendants, future citizens of Rome. This moment in Pagan mythology had a remarkable literary afterlife in the work of (among others) Dante, Milton, Tennyson, Browning, C.G. Rossetti, and Michael Field, for each of whom (according to his or her religious faith) the bees were variously linked with Christ, Lucifer, France, Rome, the Saints, and both personal and national spiritual transition. Elucidating apian allusions in these poets’ works, I explain how the bees became poetical lgures for social and spiritual upheaval (at once dangerous and creative) and for the vital presence of the non-human (or angelic) in spiritual life.</p> Jane Wright Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-12-14 2020-12-14 14 3 395 411 10.1558/jsrnc.38586 Mobilizing Faith Communities for Bee Preservation <p>Bees for Peace seeks to engage faith communities in applied projects for bee preservation by extracting from myriad faiths the shared traditional interest in promoting peace between human communities and extending this principle to the nonhuman world through imagining bees as peace ambassadors that unite disparate religious communities. Bees for Peace had an initial run during the 2018 Interreligious Week for Nature Conservation in Cologne, Germany. The Bees for Peace project contributed to the Cologne Week’s twin goals of spreading nature conservation through religious communities and increasing social cohesion through interfaith cooperation. Yet it was confronted with a deep skepticism toward religion on the part of nature conservationists and failed to win the support of the central clique of Cologne.</p> Carrie B. Dohe Copyright (c) 2021 Equinox Publishing Ltd. 2020-12-14 2020-12-14 14 3 412 438 10.1558/jsrnc.41903