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Beyond Sacred Violence: A Comparative Study of Sacrifice by Kathryn McClymond

By Kathryn McClymond

For lots of Westerners, the time period sacrifice is linked to old, frequently primitive ritual practices. It indicates the demise -- usually violent, usually bloody -- of an animal sufferer, often with the purpose of atoning for human guilt. Sacrifice is a significant ritual, culminating in a dramatic occasion. the truth of spiritual sacrificial acts around the globe and all through heritage is, in spite of the fact that, extra expansive and inclusive.In past Sacred Violence, Kathryn McClymond argues that the fashionable Western world's reductive figuring out of sacrifice simplifies an drastically vast and dynamic cluster of non secular actions. Drawing on a comparative research of Vedic and Jewish sacrificial practices, she demonstrates not just that sacrifice has no unmarried, crucial, deciding upon attribute but in addition that the weather most often attributed to such acts -- dying and violence -- aren't common. McClymond unearths that the area of non secular sacrifice varies tremendously, together with grain-based choices, beneficial beverages, and complicated interdependent actions. Engagingly argued and written, past Sacred Violence considerably extends our realizing of non secular sacrifice and serves as a well timed reminder that the sphere of spiritual reviews is essentially framed by means of Christianity. (December 2008)

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Extra resources for Beyond Sacred Violence: A Comparative Study of Sacrifice

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Jan C. Heesterman, Charles Malamoud, Brian K. ≥Ω Like early studies of Vedic sacrifice, scholarship on sacrifice in the Jewish tradition has been dominated by textual and philological approaches, with an emphasis on biblical studies or theological concerns. Jacob Milgrom’s work on Leviticus in the Anchor Bible series is a definitive example of biblical studies work regarding sacrifice. Milgrom presents a thoughtful, detailed study of the biblical text, analyzing etymology and grammatical constructions and discussing sacrifice in the broader ancient Near Eastern context.

To make things more complicated, the ritual texts often present contradictory accounts and, paradoxically, significant omissions, largely because they include information meant to be transmitted over a long period of training within the context of a priestly school. It would be impossible to reconstruct either Vedic or Jewish sacrifice on the basis of the texts alone. At the same time, the textual traditions available to us (originally oral transmissions) provide invaluable data for understanding sacrificial procedures.

Through the comparative analysis of these traditions’ sacrificial systems, I hope not only to contribute to the specialized corpus of scholarship on Vedic sacri- Introduction 23 fice and Jewish sacrifice respectively but also to challenge scholars to rethink the category of sacrifice as a cross-cultural category in the history of religions. Comparison is, of course, a methodological approach, not a conclusion. In the following comparative analysis of the Vedic and Jewish sacrificial systems, the di√erences between the traditions will be just as significant as—if not more important than—the similarities.

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