Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sobering thought

I noted this as I read it, but forgot to post it. From Israelite Religions:
"...some twenty thousand urns with infant and animal bones cremated and buried in the tophet (sanctuary) at Carthage during a period of six hundred years attest to infant sacrifice. Other cemeteries have children's bones that included both cremated and inhumed examples. The data suggest that such sacrifices were used for purposes of population control, as animal substitution decreased with an increase in population at Carthage."—Israelite Religions, page 293

<idle musing>
Yikes! Population control! That's just plain morbid. Of course, we use abortion for population control in the world today, so what's the difference in the end? One is sacrificed on an altar (presumably), the other on a table with a white cloth over it... I wonder what archaeologists and philologists will be saying about us in 2000 years?
</idle musing>


Mike Aubrey said...

I'm really hoping for the eschatological restoration of all things before another 2000 years go by...

Joel and Renée said...

I guess it just reminds all of us that people don't change. We aren't getting smarter, we aren't getting better. We are still in need of a God full of amazing grace.

Anonymous said...

The question I always have for such archaeological finds is, how do we know these kids were sacrificed? Burial in pots was common for infants in the ancient Near East, even in societies for which we have no evidence of child sacrifice. Barring textual evidence, I would be very cautious about calling these sacrifices. Infant mortality rates were high enough as it was. I don't doubt that infant sacrifice occurred, but it seems to me that it usually happened only in extreme circumstances.