The view that Ahura Mazdā created the world by way of a sacrifice is becoming the new orthodoxy of the scholarship on Zoroastrian cosmology and ritual. It was first formulated by Marijan Molé in his monumental work on Zoroastrian ritual and cosmology (1963), which he called ‘la doctrine mazdéenne
of our choosing. To lower classes have been relegated the tasks of its production, and among the marks of upper classes is the luxury of squeamishness (Gouveia & Juska 2002 ; Stull & Broadway 2004 ).
It is perhaps not surprising, then, that ancient practices of animal sacrifice have presented
This volume asks to which extent ancient practices and traditions of human sacrifice are reflected in medieval and modern Judeo-Christian times. The first part of the volume, on antiquity, focuses on rituals of human sacrifice and
polemics against it, as well as on transformations of human sacrifice in the Israelite-Jewish and Christian cultures, while the Ancient Near East and ancient Greece are not excluded. The second part of the volume, on medieval and modern times, discusses human sacrifice in Jewish and Christian traditions as well as the debates about euthanasia and death penalty in the Western world.
This paper deals with the centrality of the semantic frame of Sacrificing in Judges, and with its relevance to one of the book’s central themes. 1 I shall show how aspects of the act of sacrificing recurrently appear at key positions throughout the narratives, and draw the
Durkheimians” as Robert Hertz, Georges Bataille and Roger Caillois, each of whom took their lead from Mauss, Lévi-Strauss rejected the study of ritual in general and sacrifice in particular on the basis of an arbitrary, scientistically immaculate exclusion that he presented as a direct corollary of
I n Geoffrey Hill’s poem “Christmas Trees,” the logic of Dietrich Boenhoffer’s sacrifice is proposed as unquestionable—our job is to listen: “We hear too late, or not too late.” But what is this affirmation of the anachronism “sacrifice” doing in the modern secular world?
Viewed from the
addressed the crowd regarding the significance of their Mabior , or white bull, ritual sacrifice. 1 ‘You, Dinka and Nuer,’ he said, ‘I caution you to be very careful of what you have observed in Mabior . It was very wild. I have never seen a bull as wild as that bull. Mabior will take revenge on anyone
Zombie fiction, and recent television serials stress that zombies must be killed with extreme violence, i.e. stabbing, gouging, slicing, etc. But violence that goes beyond simple expedience must have roots in more subtle social processes. It is clear enough that killing serves to confirm the solidarity of the survivor group, a common strategy in social groups around the world, as anthropologists have described in populations ranging from the Pathan of northwestern Pakistan to the Waorani of Amazonian Ecuador. But the recent American television series, The Walking Dead, goes further, by recalling Rene Girard’s point that the perfect victim must involve the sacrifice of an innocent person who stands in for the group. How can a zombie be rendered the innocent victim of ritual sacrifice whose purpose is to affirm the solidarity of the group?
Fears and stories about an underground religion devoted to Satan, which demands and carries out child sacrifice, appeared in the United States in the late twentieth century and became the subject of media reports supported by some mental health professionals. Examining these modern fantasies leads us back to ancient stories which in some cases believers consider the height of religious devotion.
Horrifying ideas about human sacrifice, child sacrifice, and the offering to the gods of a beloved only son by his father appear repeatedly in Western traditions, starting with the Greeks and the Hebrews. In
Flesh and Blood: Interrogating Freud on Human Sacrifice, Real and Imagined, Beit-Hallahmi focuses on rituals of violence tied to religion, both imagined and real. The main focus of this work is the meaning of blood and ritual killing in the history of religion. The book examines the encounter with the idea of child sacrifice in the context of human hopes for salvation.
The mythic character of Medea is an atypical figure, embodying two conflicting narrative roles. As a priestess, she provides Jason with magical aid in his quest for the Golden Fleece, conforming to the archetype of the mentor, or magical helper. However, as princess of Colchis, she becomes Jason’s love interest and wife. These two character molds indicate Medea’s role as a character that is wholly dependent upon the male protagonist, but this is resisted. Medea displays that she is in constant conflict with her identity within her story arc. Several versions of the Medea myth depict a series of attempted departures from her structural role, showing Medea as displaying individual autonomy even as she seeks to achieve acceptance within a community. Her selfhood thus fluctuates, composed through violence and sacrifice, as she transitions from a spiritual identity to a mortal one and back again. This chapter discusses the structural/narrative role of Medea and her attempts to subvert and reposition herself outside the confines of traditional and teleological narratives. This will mainly entail a reading of Euripides’ Medea, extending to Ovid’s account of her in his Metamorphoses, but also to a modern retelling of the myth in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film Medea. Each of these versions highlights the tools of ritual and sacrifice that Medea uses to achieve her transformations and by which she is vilified. Ultimately, this chapter addresses how Medea’s liminality and transgressive acts reveal the desire for self-formation and the limitations of that desire.