Article

Sacrifice

William K. Gilders

in Biblical Studies

ISBN: 9780195393361
Published online September 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0109
Sacrifice

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“Sacrifice” is a word that evokes multiple meanings and connotations in modern contexts. When dealing with the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), early Judaism, and early Christianity, and their wider cultural worlds, “sacrifice” is best defined as the ritualized slaughter of animals and the processing of their bodies in relation to supernatural forces (especially gods). In some cases, human beings were the objects of ritualized slaughter and processing. Ritualized processing was also applied to nonmeat foods and drink, such as grain, olive oil, and wine. The English word “sacrifice” derives etymologically from a Latin term that means “make sacred.” This etymological meaning is quite appropriate for the rituals in the Hebrew Bible that are typically designated as “sacrifices,” since they involve the transfer of offerings from human beings to God, from the common to the sacred. In the Hebrew Bible, the primary Hebrew term is qorbān (something brought forward, offering), which indicates the basic ancient Israelite understanding of this activity. In the Hebrew Bible, Israel’s God, Yahweh, is always the designated or assumed recipient of legitimate Israelite sacrifice. In this bibliography, the primary focus will be on sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible. However, some attention will be given to resources related to postbiblical ancient Judaism and early Christianity, as those traditions drew on and interpreted the Hebrew Bible.

Article.  6451 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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