It can be easy to forget that we’re not the first generation in history to study and appreciate the natural world and the creatures—both real and imagined—with whom we share it.
The following passage describing the Old Testament Book of Job comes from 1001 Surprising Things You Should Know about the Bible, by Jerry MacGregor and Marie Prys, Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc.
“Job is thought to have lived in the Arabian Desert, somewhere between Babylon and the Holy Land. Interestingly, he was the great naturalist of the Old Testament, and he displayed a deep knowledge and an observant eye for the world around him.
“‘Speak to the earth and it shall teach thee,’ he advises (Job 12:8). He followed his own advice because he describes precisely the habits of mammals, the way of birds, the patterns in the skies, the rains and the floods. He speaks knowingly of the various trees that grow along the stream, from the papyrus in the marshes to the thorny shrubs of the desert.
“… He was aware that the stars are not scattered at random in the night sky but are fixed in unchanging patterns, one of which is the Zodiac. The Zodiac is an imaginary belt across the sky consisting of twelve groups of stars—constellations, or ‘chambers,’ as Job called them—through which the sun and moon seem to pass. Each constellation appeared to the ancients to represent the figure of some animal or a mythical being usually associated with animals.”
– 1001 Surprising Things You Should Know about the Bible
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Katerina Lorenzatos Makris (a.k.a. Kathryn Makris) has written 18 books for major publishers and hundreds of articles for publications such as National Geographic Traveler, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Petside.com, and two regional news wire services.
A cofounder of AnimalBeat.org, she holds a B.A. in Environmental Science Studies and a lifelong interest in animal issues.
Among her books are Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know about Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press), coauthored with Shelley Frost, and The Eco-Kids, a series of novels for tweens (Avon Books).
Her story “Small Change” placed as a finalist in The Bark magazine’s short fiction contest and appeared in the November 2010 issue.
She may be reached at email@example.com
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