Saturday, January 07, 2017

Paradigm break, anyone?

Recent studies have demonstrated that the act of bringing sacrifices to a deity is in several respects analogous to gift-giving, which can be seen as an essential ingredient in social interaction between humans, in all known cultures. The keyword, in both cases, is reciprocity. In a reciprocal relationship, one is never forced to accept a gift, but refusing to do so could signal dissatisfaction with the relationship. According to the biblical authors, human beings did not have the power to control YHWH, or to determine the actions of the deity. Hence, the possibility of rejection would seem to be a corollary of ancient Israelite sacrificial logic. Contrary to a widespread opinion, therefore, declarations to the effect that the deity does not accept what is being offered may in fact be perfectly compatible with a positive attitude to sacrificial cult.—Göran Eidevall in Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement in Early Judaism and Christianity: Constituents and Critique, forthcoming from SBL Press (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
Interesting idea, isn't it? The whole book seems fascinating...
</idle musing>

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