Approaching the Issue of Sacrifice

Maria‐Zoe Petropoulou

in Animal Sacrifice in Ancient Greek Religion, Judaism, and Christianity, 100 BC to AD 200

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780199218547
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191711503 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Approaching the Issue of Sacrifice

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This chapter deals with the main anthropological theories on sacrifice in general, and on Jewish and Greek sacrifice in particular. The few historical approaches to the issue of sacrifice are also presented, with emphasis on Nilsson's approach. A way of understanding the mechanism of animal sacrifice, based on the intersection of two axes, the one vertical (linking humans to the deity), the other horizontal (that of reality), is presented. It is explained that the book mainly deals with the horizontal axis, which consists of many sections, each one representing a particular realm of reality. The code of language moves along the whole of each axis, and communicates the meanings carried through the axis. This scheme will prove very important in the study of sacrificial metaphors, in which the terms normally applied to one section of the horizontal axis move towards other sections of it.

Keywords: animal sacrifice; anthropological theories; axis; Nilsson; language; mechanism; metaphors

Chapter.  11801 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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