Author Topic: Human Sacrifice in Jewish and Christian Tradition  (Read 1016 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline screwtape

  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 12130
  • Darwins +646/-27
  • Gender: Male
  • Karma mooch
Human Sacrifice in Jewish and Christian Tradition
« on: September 24, 2012, 12:39:18 PM »
http://www.syriac.ca/Library/Still%20to%20be%20added/from%20fr%20ken/Human%20Sacrifice%20in%20Jewish%20and%20Christian%20Tradition.pdf

This is a collection of very academic papers that examine human sacrifice.  It covers the ancient near east as well as Grecco-Roman culture around the first century CE.   The meatier ones cover the various forms of sacrifice and offering in the OT and try to determine whether they were ever for yhwh. 

One of the disappointing things I found was how few of the scholars took the Documentary Hypothesis into consideration. My understanding what the DH was a pretty well established consensus amongst scholars.  My understanding, it turns out, might be wrong.

My favorite essay is one entitled "?Molek: Dead or Alive?" by Bennie Reynolds.  In several places in the OT it forbids sacrificing children "to Molek".  It has long been assumed that Molek was a pagan god.  However, that began to be challenged around the start of the 20th century.  Reynolds puts together a very convincing argument that no such character was worshipped.  While the word mlk[1] appears throughout the region, it is always in regard to child sacrifice.  There are no stories of mlk, no imagery of mlk, and no other evidence one would expect to find of a god, anywhere in the middle east.  Thus, the word is not "Molek", but "molk" and refers to a specific kind of sacrifice. 

Additionally, Reynolds makes a case that it is a translational error.  The full rendering of the word is lmlk.  The L at the front is a preposition that is often translated as "to".  But is is also translated as "for" or "as".  Traditionally the translation has been "do not sacrifice your children to/for Molek".  Reynolds argues the correct useage is "do not kill your children as a molk-sacrifice".

There is more, but I don't want to spoil it.  He puts a cannonball through the idea of Molek. 

I highly recommend this collection (an have included the PDF link up top).  But beware, it is not for the casual reader.
 1. as rendered in English
Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline Nick

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10294
  • Darwins +177/-8
  • Gender: Male
Re: Human Sacrifice in Jewish and Christian Tradition
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 01:26:32 PM »
I'm not surprised if the Christian right would not want to bring it back.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

Tide goes in, tide goes out !!!

Offline screwtape

  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 12130
  • Darwins +646/-27
  • Gender: Male
  • Karma mooch
Re: Human Sacrifice in Jewish and Christian Tradition
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 02:15:52 PM »
A conclusion common to many of the theses is that child sacrifice was probably not a regular thing, but a last gasp, panic button to be used in times of national emergency.  Many of the accounts of child sacrifice in the OT and across the middle east were in a time of war, because that usually meant extermination anyway.  It was typical that a prince was sacrificed, because that was the most valuable thing they had - the future of the kingdom.

Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Online Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 6572
  • Darwins +509/-18
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Re: Human Sacrifice in Jewish and Christian Tradition
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 06:48:50 PM »
The essay is indeed dense and slow moving - I was a little disappointed that the authors seem to refer to the incident of Jephthah's Daughter as it it were a real event, rather than a palpable story with a moral. Also, it soon becomes clear that "Christian" sacrifice is all but unknown, although killing people is not.

However, I ploughed on and am now around page 253 - "God’s Sacrifice of Himself as a Man - Anselm of Canterbury’s Cur deus homo" This is worth a read - it resembles one of our mail threads by an earnest but finally mistaken godbotherer. I'd encourage anyone to have a go at picking holes in Anselm's arguments.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce