Fairfax, VA (For Immediate Release) — Eastern Christian Publications announces the publication of a series of original Catholic devotionals entitled The Blessed Book of Beasts, written by Jonathan Scott. Featuring virtually every animal named in the Bible, it uses classical literary forms from the Middle Ages, and is designed to delight the imagination and lead the heart towards devotion.
The books have been written for families– children, parents, grandparents – and feature over 100 classical engravings. The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who had the opportunity to view early drafts of the work, described the books as “an answered prayer to all who believe.”
A Bestiary is a literary collection of animals, each one of which conveys a moral lesson about goodness. The first known Bestiary was written by an unknown author in the first century. In the Bible, God uses animals to help teach wisdom. We immediately think of the talking donkey in the Book of Numbers who prods the prophet Balaam towards the path of God. The writer of the Book of Proverbs, as well, describes several animals as being exceedingly wise.
In the New Testament, Our Lord points directly to the animals to teach us about goodness. We see Him point to the Sparrow to teach His disciples about God’s great love for us. Jesus uses other animals to teach us to avoid temptation and evil, and how to treat others with care.
With its emphasis on the human spirit and devotion, the aim of the Bestiary is especially in line with the theology of the Eastern Church. In the fourth century, St. John Chrysostom taught that it is good to be kind and gentle with animals, and to learn from them, because we share the same Creator. The literary devices of the Bestiary are also common in the West. Saint Francis de Sales, in his Introduction to the Devout Life, details numerous animals in order to lead us to devotion. According to St. Francis, devotion is “a spiritual activity and liveliness by means of which Divine Love works in us, and causes us to work briskly and lovingly… Just as charity leads us to a general practice of all God’s Commandments, so devotion leads us to practice them diligently.”
For over 20 years, Eastern Christian Publications has produced books and other liturgical/educational resources for Christian communities throughout the world, including more than 300 focused on Eastern Traditions.
The Blessed Book of Beasts comes in three separate volumes, each covering a category of beasts, or in a single combination book. Discounts are available for quantity purchase by parishes or bookstores. Further information is available, and orders can be placed through the New Titles page of the Online Catalog at www.ecpubs.com, or directly at: