The Social Meanings of Sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible: A Study of Four Writings

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This work uses anthropological theory and field studies to investigate the social function and meaning of sacrifice. All rituals, including sacrifice, communicate social beliefs and morality, but these cannot be determined outside of a study of the social context. Thus, there is no single explanation for sacrifice - such as those advanced by René Girard or Walter Burkert or late-19th and early-20th century scholars. The book then examines four different writings in the Hebrew Bible - the Priestly Writing, the Deuteronomistic History, Ezra-Nehemiah, and Chronicles - to demonstrate how different social origins result in different social meanings of sacrifice.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a very valuable contribution to the understanding of an institution that continues to baffle and intrigue scholars."P. Jenson in: Book List 05/2005
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Product Details

Meet the Author

David Janzen is a visiting professor at the Seminario Anabautista Latinoamericano in Guatemala City. He has published several works on the social world of the Hebrew Bible.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1
2 The rhetorics of ritual 9
3 Ritual and ritualized morality 36
4 Theology, worldview, and ideology 57
5 The study of sacrifice in biblical studies 67
6 Sacrifice in the priestly writing 88
7 Sacrifice and the king in the Deuteronomistic history 120
8 Perfect slaughter : sacrifice as warning and promise in the Deuteronomistic history 160
9 Sacrifice as cultic expression of the law : social and geographic separation in Ezra-Nehemiah 185
10 Rest, peace, and quiet : sacrifice in Chronicles 209
11 Conclusion : sacrifice, God, and the people 243
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