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By Jennifer Wright Knust, Zsuzsanna Varhelyi

Interpreting the varied spiritual texts and practices of the overdue Hellenistic and Roman sessions, this number of essays investigates the numerous meanings and features of formality sacrifice within the old global. The essays survey sacrificial acts, historic theories, and literary in addition to inventive depictions of sacrifice, displaying that any try and establish a unmarried underlying importance of sacrifice is futile. Sacrifice can't be outlined in simple terms as a primal expression of violence, regardless of the common equation of sacrifice to faith and sacrifice to violence in lots of glossy scholarly works; neither is it enough to argue that each one sacrifice will be defined through guilt, via the necessity to arrange and distribute animal flesh, or by way of the communal functionality of either the sacrificial ritual and the meal. because the authors of those essays exhibit, sacrifice can be invested with all of those meanings, or none of them. The killing of the animal, for instance, may possibly occur offstage instead of in sight, and the sensible, daily regimen of plant and animal choices can have been invested with that means, too. but sacrificial acts, or discourses approximately those acts, did provide an immense website of contestation for plenty of historic writers, even if the religions they have been protecting now not participated in sacrifice. Negotiations over the which means of sacrifice remained primary to the aggressive machinations of the literate elite, and their refined theological arguments didn't rather a lot undermine sacrificial perform as proceed to imagine its crucial validity. old Mediterranean Sacrifice deals new perception into the connections and modifications one of the Greek and Roman, Jewish and Christian religions.

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95. Richard Gordon, “The Veil of Power: Emperors, Sacrificers and Benefactors,” in Pagan Priests: Religion and Power in the Ancient World, edited by Mary Beard and John North (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), 199–232, at 206. 96. Gordon, “Veil of Power,” 219. 97.

Stanley K. Stowers, “Greeks Who Sacrifice and Those Who Do Not: Toward an Anthropology of Greek Religion,” in The Social World of the First Christians: Essays in Honor of Wayne A. Meeks, edited by L. Michael White and O. Larry Yarbrough (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1995), 293–333, at 298. 62. Stowers, “Greeks Who Sacrifice,” 311. 63. Stowers, “Greeks Who Sacrifice,” 331–32. 64. 2 (1993–1994): 109–30; Leviticus as Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). 65. Douglas, Purity and Danger, 3–4.

According to this logic, the victim is by definition innocent while the sacrificer is necessarily guilty, even if it is God who is honored by the sacrifice, a logic that went on to inform the theories of violent sacrifice discussed at the start of this essay. ” Yet the sacrificers are, Christian writers suggest, entirely savage. Plan of the Volume PART I: THEORIZING SACRIFICE The essays gathered in the first section of the volume offer important reappraisals of contemporary approaches to sacrifice by examining ancient practices and texts.

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