Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy


Charles Fred Smith


biblical, theology, dung, scat, poop, offal, feces, eglon, scatology, judges, skubalon, dung hill, ash heap, atonement, semiotics, symbolism, sin, concretize, image, filth, impure


Christianity | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


The Scriptures contain a theology of dung. When the semantic and conceptual cognates that pertain to dung are synthesized, the result is a scriptural scatology whereby dung is presented as a symbol for sin. To clarify, the biblical exhibition of dung presents excrement as a central symbol employed by Scripture to concretize the abstract nature of sin. When each semantic and conceptual cognate that pertains to dung is examined, in nearly every instance where dung is mentioned, sin is in close proximity. The recognition of the dung–sin symbol enlightens particular aspects related to the nature of sin, which mirrors the physical production, elimination, and basic attitudes regarding dung. The illumination of the nature of sin can be seen specifically in the aspects of rejection, ejection, mockery, and disgust. Additionally, the Scriptures present the dung–sin symbol link in a trifold manner. First, the dung–sin symbol communicates that just as dung is created through a bodily process that involves rejection and ejection (elimination), the nature of sin itself also contains the twin concepts of rejection and ejection. Second, the dung–sin symbol communicates a scriptural attitude concerning sin — one of mocking revilement — which ironically involves rejection and ejection by both the divine and human. Third, the revelation of the dung–sin symbol also contains a depiction of grace which corresponds to elimination and attitude. Of the latter, cognizance of how Scripture views sin acts as a deterrent of commitment; of the former, the elimination of sin — mirroring the bodily process of rejection and ejection — brings forth restoration.