1.28.09.Sacrifice.Cosmology.OlympianGods

1.28.09.Sacrifice.Cosmology.OlympianGods - GREEK AND ROMAN...

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GREEK AND ROMAN RELIGIONS (01:190:326) 01/28/09: Sacrifice cont’d; Greek cosmology and Olympian gods and godesses
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Sacrifice (Burkert and Girard) Sacrificial practices were a touchstone of ancient society, both anime and votive offerings (small statutes or other objects left in temples) The theological/mythological explanation for these hinged on a definition of reciprocity. Sacrifice was mandated by the divine (for example, in Greek myth, Prometheus tricked Zeus into choosing the bone and hide of the animal sacrifice, in place of the meat, which portion was left to man)
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Burkert Homo Necans (1972, 1983 in English) Argued that sacrificial ritual – and religious ritual in general – derived from the hunt. The necessity for behavioral rituals to manage cooperation and the “kill” during the hunt. Prey anthropomorphized into the “Master of Animals” and a complex mythic/symbolic web grew up around it. Way of ritualizing and subordinating aggression
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Girard Violence and the S acred (1972) Sacrifice is a substitution – it redirects violence from its legitimate target and focuses it instead on the sacrificial victim. Sees this pattern in J udeo-Christian and Greek myths (i.e. Odysseus’ escape from the Cyclops covered in goat skin, J acob deceiving his father by pretending to be Esau) Theology becomes a means of justifying this redirection from a legitimate target to the sacrificial one.
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Girard (cont’d) Greek ritual of a pharmakos – a sacrificial victim, who was raised at the expense of the community, then scapegoated and driven out plays into this theory. Attempts to diffuse the cycle of violence by removing it from the guilty party (or parties) As long as vengeance is personal, sacrifice is the means to diffuse it.
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Girard’s Paradigm of Vengeance Sacrifice Culture Divine Victim/Aggressor Victim /Aggressor Sacrifice (Substitute Victim) Theological Justification Violence Avoided
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Girard’s Paradigm of Vengeance J udicial Culture Sovereign Power Real Victim Guilty Party Right to vengeance surrendered by compulsion Punishment meted out on a rational basis
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Both theories ground the reasons for sacrifice in anthropological terms – that is, as a response to human society. The divine is secondary, merely an
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1.28.09.Sacrifice.Cosmology.OlympianGods - GREEK AND ROMAN...

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