Article

Sacrificial Violence

Walter Burkert

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199759996
Published online March 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199759996.013.0031

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Sacrificial Violence

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This chapter investigates the sacrificial violence that is a problem of ancient religions, paying attention only to those civilizations which form the basis of Near Eastern-European tradition. The suicidal murderer regards himself as homo religiosus. Religion is committed in an arena of death, nay of killing. The shadow of death appears most noticeable when sacrifice reaches its violent peak in human sacrifice. There have been a few examples of substitution sacrifice in rituals and legends. The themes of violence and killing make tragedy. Religion admits danger, fear, and violence, while presenting rules concerning how to deal with these, one of which includes the risk and the triumph of killing.

Keywords: sacrificial violence; sacrificial victim; killing; eating; human sacrifice; ancient religions; suicidal murderer; civilizations

Article.  9327 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Religion in the Ancient World ; Comparative Religion

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