Animal Sacrifice

Daniel Ullucci

in The Christian Rejection of Animal Sacrifice

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791705
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932436 | DOI:
Animal Sacrifice

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This chapter lays out a theoretical model for understanding the ancient Mediterranean debate over animal sacrifice. The model has two main parts that are critical to understanding the ancient positions on sacrifice. First, sacrifice is a non-discursive ritual practice that does not encode its own interpretation. This allows for a competition over the meaning and purpose of animal sacrifice. This competition was alive and well in the ancient Mediterranean. The second is the reciprocal logic of sacrifice which undergirds the majority of ancient thinkers’ understandings of this ritual. Lack of attention to these two points is responsible for the majority of modern misunderstandings of this ritual. The ancient thinkers who carried on this competition were not average persons; they were elite, highly-educated cultural producers. To understand their texts, we must understand the field of cultural competition in which they were engaged.

Keywords: ritual; Catherine Bell; reciprocity; discursive; Theodore Schatzki; Weber; Burkert; practice; cognitive; Pierre Bourdieu

Chapter.  7792 words. 

Subjects: History of Religion

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