The sacrifice cuts off from the world of the men the object, the living being, or the part of the body, concerned. This thing passes in the world of the divine things, whose men should not touch, to be useful. This passage most generally results in a destruction with the common direction, a dematerialization: death, the incineration, the burial or the sending under water, the fence (for the zones), the inversion (for the liquids), the diffusion (for smoke, the odorants), etc
Étymologiquement, the term of sacrifice gets busy for a large variety of acts. Usually, one especially uses it for the bloody sacrifices. In the case of offerings of food or liquid, one speaks about nonbloody sacrifice or drinking , and, in the case of a portion of the ground, inauguration .
The term also passed in the current language to indicate the fact of destroying or of letting strategically destroy part of a whole for a total objective considered to be more important: to sacrifice a pawn to the play of failure, to sacrifice a section in order to gain a battle or a War, etc
The human sacrifice
None the " great religions " do not practice any more the human Sacrifice. But to affirm its even original primitive character is a pure calculation. For example the Aztec myth itself explains clearly why it is about a posterior innovation. To the time of Quezacoalt, only of the vegetable offerings were applied. It is the defeat and the escape of God who founded the time of the human sacrifices.
The ritual murder
The ritual murder is attested as of the paleolithic one, vestige of a Culte of craniums. The participants extracted the grey matter from it to nourish themselves some during a ritual banquet. Initially, it is possible that these emptied craniums of their substance were those of late of the community, which one absorbed the heart. But certain civilizations show young subjects presenting the same wounds.
Ritual anthropophagy fascine the ethnologists and the anthropologists which meet it in Oceania, in Africa and in the North of the Latin America and in Europe. One of these civilizations recently made it possible to include/understand the causes of the Maladie of Creutzfeldt-Jacob.
See also: Charge of ritual crime against the Jews
The sacrifice of the enemy
It is a share of spoils which are thus offered to the gods, and a way of adapting the force of the enemy. Almost all primitive or antiquated civilizations practiced it. The human sacrifices are attested at the Gaulois by the excavations of the sacrificial wells. In ancient Rome, the human sacrifices remain exceptional: in 226 av. J. - C. and in 216 av. J. - C., two Gallic and two Greeks are sacrificed. In 97 av. J. - C., the human sacrifices are prohibited on the Roman territory. In the antiquated Mediterranean world, that remains however a completely exceptional fact reflecting the gravity of a situation. The Aztèque S thus offered thousands of prisoners of war whose heart was torn off to nourish the sun and to give him the force to rise each day. The body of the prisoners was distributed and divided between all the inhabitants.
This sacrifice, that it is that of the foreign enemy or the common enemy, requires collaboration between the civil authorities, religious and military. Thus, the setting with death testifies to a political dimension retracted by a theological interpretation in order to seal the alliance of what one would name in our regions the saber and the aspergillum .
The sacrifice of the children
Opposite the sacrifice of the enemy, other civilizations preferred the sacrifice of the children, innocent beings par excellence. Many cosmogonies, such that of Cronos present the account of a god devouring his children. In old Palestine, the worships cananéens transfer perdurer the sacrifice of the children until the first millenium before the common era. This sacrifice is called MLK, royal, from where the Bible drew the false idea from the worship of Molok. In fact, the sacrifice was addressed to Baal, deification political power. One thus agrees to say today that the molek was not a divinity but the name of the sacrificial rite. The Phénicien S thus sacrificed children to the god Baal, the Carthaginians with Ba' Al Hammon and/or Tanit to obtain the favor of the god, or in Tanit alone at the time of rites of fruitfulness.
With the the Middle Ages, especially during the epidemics of Black Death, the Juif S were easily shown to sacrifice Christian children, and often suffered from these horrible charges (see Accusation of ritual crime against the Jews).
The binding of Isaac in the Judaism and the Aïd Al-Kebir in the Islam commemorate the abandonment of the sacrifice of the children in their substituent a ram, animal of reproductive Grand Prix because. One thus sacrifices a monetarists source of revenue in a civilization where the cash is rare.
The Greek Mythologie knows two narrative traditions of the sacrifice of Iphigénie . Racine transmits that to us where no substitution is necessary. In another account, a hind occurs at the last time and of sacrificed, Iphigénie becomes sacrificatrice by immolant the animal. Appointed with the sacrifice of the foreign prisoners, she will refuse to sacrifice Oreste, her brother, informant whom it is enough to purify it. Its gesture symbolizes the end of the human sacrifice in the old Greece.
The judgment of the Vestales represents a form of human sacrifice.
antiquity Greco-RomanThe Mythe of Prométhée exposes the origin of the sacrifice. He knew many interpretations and representations. The ancient theater testifies to the importance of the sacrifice in the life of the city.
In Rome, the Frêres Arvales are in charge of the conservation with manners and habits as regards sacrifices. Tite Live tells the case of a monstrous sacrifice made by the Romans at the time of the war against Samnites. The sacrifice is monstrous on this point that human victims and animal are cut the throat of side by side.
In the Bible
- the sacrifice of the girl of Jephté by his/her father
- substitution of a ram for Isaac, at the time of the " sacrifice" of Abraham, mark the abandonment of the human sacrifices by incipient civilization.
- the ritual sacrifices of animals prescribed with the people of Israel are the subject of many verses of the Lévitique.
In IslamSacrifice or " Dhabiĥa" ;
Each one having always an assistance to ask or a fault to be made forgive, the sacrifice with the hard life. The sacrifice in the Coran: The Aïd to el-Kebir (meaning the great festival literally) is one of the most important Muslim holidays. It marks each year the end of the pilgrimage with Mecque, the last month of the Moslem calendar. It commemorates the tender of Abraham in Allah, when the patriarch was ready to sacrifice his son on his order. Each Moslem family, as far as her means, sacrifice a sheep by égorgeant it lying on the left side and the head turned towards Mecque.
Extract of Coran, sourate II, 196:
“ And achieve for Allah the pilgrimage and Urma. If you are prevented by it, then made a sacrifice which is easy for you. And do not shave your heads before the offering to be sacrificed did not reach its place of immolation. If one among you is sick or suffers from an affection of the head (and must shave), that it is repurchased then by Siyam or a alms or a sacrifice. When you find then peace, whoever enjoyed a normal life after having made Umra while waiting for the pilgrimage, must make a sacrifice which is easy for him. If it does not have the means, that it fasts three days during the pilgrimage and seven days once returned at his place, that is to say in all ten days. That is prescribed for that whose family does not live near the crowned Mosque. And fear Allah. And will know that Allah is hard in punishment . ”
Various valorizations of the sacrifice
For the same execution, according to the same mode, the theological interpretation given to the act makes all the difference.
- the 6000 companions of Spartacus, crucifiés, are only revolted slaves having received their right punishment. Theological interpretation with regard to them will intervene at the beginning of the 19th century when Rosa Luxembourg (1870 - 1919) and Karl Liebknecht (1871 - 1919) will make of them the heroes of the people and the martyrs of freedom sacrificed by a modern repressive state appears of a laic Moloch.
- Christianity thinks that the Christ was sacrificed for the remission of the sins.
Typology of the sacrifices
In the most common way, the sacrifice is a gift made (X) to the god (X) or spirit (S), an offering; one then speaks about sacrifice latreutic . If it is given for purposes to return grace for a benefit passed, it is known as eucharistic . Lastly, if it is given in order to obtain other benefits, it is known as impétratoire .
The recipient can be a precise and given entity, a group of entities, even an unknown entity of that which makes the sacrifice (case of the abandonments of things outside).
Such a sacrifice-donation must obviously relate to objects adapted to the donee:
- an animal without defect (Thus Lévitique XVI, 20-28 defines the Scapegoat)
- or conversely an individual carrying the divine mark, in the form of a color or of a rare and specific defect).
It can be accepted or refused (for example: the fire which must consume the object does not take). Specialists are charged to determine what it is and how that must be interpreted, in particular compared to the future events.
More rarely, the sacrifice is explicitly a deification, a Apothéose , and thus a true “gift” not with the gods but with the thing or anybody sacrificed. The funerary practices raise of the same logic, the late one joining the world of the “spirits”, although that is now rather implicit and that the bond with the divinity is seen less. The funerary practices parallel to include this sacrifice-apotheosis of the offerings of things suitable for late (armament, jewels, objects daily…).
The border between the two types of sacrifice can grow blurred besides in this case: as much the sacrifice horse or boat of late is clearly a donation, as much the sacrifice of the widow (known of many civilizations, and who remained in India at least until the XIXe century: sati ) is more ambiguous, and variable according to the place of the woman in the company (i.e. if the women are or not equipped with a “heart”, a capacity to be passed in the world of the spirits like a person to whole share).
Lastly, and more commonly, if the apotheosis devotes (literally) the virtues of the late one, the sacrifice can be caused by the defects (real or supposed) of the victim, which transforms it into a kind of demon. The irony and the ambiguity of the thing are that the survivors will deduce from them (or will consolidate) rules on the adequate behaviors, whose demon incarnates the opposite, which makes of him at the same time a negative force and the origin of the order. Thus the demon becomes he god, by a kind of apotheosis opposite. In North America, the Natchez practiced human sacrifices at the time of the funeral of their Large Sun or their Large Queen.
The sacrifice and the profanation
Sacrifice and crowned spaceIn the old companies, the feature of furrow is accompanied by a generally human sacrifice. Thus the murder of Rémus by Romulus (source is interpreted: American school). The provision of the temple is thus conceived like a geographical interior and an outside materializing cosmological separation of the them (the impure ones) against us (the pure ones, the just ones). In this direction, all the strongly integrated groups rest on mechanisms of Discrimination.
They cannot exist without enemies nor sacrificial victims and thus depend on the constant repetition of the lie on the enemy if they want to arrive to a degree of autogenous stress necessary to internal stabilization. It is not no need to accept the Gods; it is enough to remember the constitutive fatal festival to know in what they concerns us. The distressed memory of a hidden crime is what constitutes the major religiosity of the old cultures; in this religious environment, the people are close to the lies and the spectra which found them. God is the authority which can recall to its followers the mystery occulted of the fault (Peter Sloterdijk Finitude and opening - towards an ethics of space - 330e conference of the university of all the knowledge given on November 25th, 2000).
Peter Sloterdijk then indicates such a uterotechnic tribe like . Is known as utero-technique a company closed again on itself, that this enfermement is material, intellectual or spiritual. The comfort of such a company is due to the relation of the even to very the and maintained by a class of Prêtre S assuming the royalty. Peter Sloterdijk states that such a comfort, when it is lost, by the introduction in new manners of producing or more generally of new ideas degenerates into conformism. It then becomes necessary to expel the intruder, designated by the omens, i.e. the priests.
The sacrifice appears, within this framework, like an effort to expel the Mal interior space of the Communauté. It produces a temporary effect of extension of the sphere of influence of this one by means of the establishment of a distance symbolic system, lived like an immunizing space, a security distance enters and the group and the one or the ones that is excluded from it. Excluded are supposed to have corrupted it while the interior world delimited by the moral ditches and walls is supposed pure or integrates .
The expulsion of the goat or its sacrifice produce a stress relief car-stressing Endogène for the period preceding the sacrifice. A biblical verse describes this phenomenon: “That its blood falls down on us and on our children”. If, in the context of the thought of the old will, blood belongs to God like sits of the principle of life, in this type of sacrifice, the point of application becomes completely immanent. It purifies the instigators of the ritual Meurtre.
It notes the permanence of this phenomenon in supposed companies modern where the Meurtre, failing this expulsion, resolder a company when she does not manage to solve her own contradictions and believes itself then threatened by an enemy of the interior (example: the clandestine immigration, stigmatized like an invasion, but which, because clandestine, cannot be really counted; fault of exact census from a scientific point of view, its importance is measured using a not-reliable measuring instrument: the phantasm of the loss of identity).
The opposite process (of the divine world in the world of the men) is possible, is “naturally” (modern term, which does not have obviously a direction in a cosmology where the divine one is omnipresent), that is to say on the initiative of the men; in this case, it is advisable to comply with precise rules, if not it is a Profanation (literally: a return to the profane world).
One can refer on this subject to the speech of Cicéron, Pro domo : when Cicéron is exiled, Clodius shaves its house in order to make of it a Temple with Minerve (in this case, the ground is devoted). Cicéron however disputes the regularity of this ceremony and wants to cure it by a exauguration.
Sociology of the sacrifice
Effectiveness regulating and alleviating
The sacrifice appears as a rather effective means to remove a problem potentially conflict source which one cannot solve.
According to Rene Girard ( When the things start. Discussions with Michel Treguer , Paris, Arlea, 1996), any local culture is one clicks resulting from the murder founder in a system of desire and jealousy. The play of central language of such a company is, each time, the collective and univocal charge and the judgment of a sacrificial victim which must assume all the evil and the negation as monotonous as consequent of its own responsibility with regard to the evolutions in cascade which justified the blossoming of the Violence. To a Culture in this direction of the term only that belongs which takes part really or symbolically in the sacrifice of the Scapegoat. The victim then becomes the close link of the culture which sacrifices it.
It is as communities of narration and emotion - i.e. in the Culte - which the cultures, these groups of criminals enchanted by their misdeed, are more themselves. It is where the emotions and the account are recut that constitutes itself crowned. The sacrificed object is thus placed in the middle of the spiritual space of a company. The fusion of the groups based on the emotions and the accounts, the fears and the lies, is also consolidated politically. (Peter Sloterdijk, COp cit. ). Thus, rather than to risk a combat between various people asserting a thing (heirs, for example), it can be (or only seem) less harmful to dissolve the litigation by removing one of its components. The community loses there, but it finds (temporarily) a preferable peace in its eyes, because making it possible to build other things instead of fighting on the relics. Still is necessary it not to be mistaken.
The choice of the element of the conflict which will be sacrificed is rather fundamental.
- This perhaps, obviously, the object of the conflict (the ship of a large sailor, the armament of a war leader or the wife of noble, and legitimacy with the command which goes with). The myths show us some examples: Iphigénie in Aulide (propitiatory sacrifice) or the girl of Jethro (sacrifice eucharistic).
- It can be also one of the protagonists of the conflict, obviously least constant (independently of the rights in rem that it could have on the thing, according to the rules of use in the company), or even all the protagonists.
- It can be finally, and even more often, a thing apparently without the least relationship “natural” with the litigation, but which one notes a posteriori that it was effective to gather the community (what proves its membership of the divine categories: it has a capacity of “supernatural” action, and its sacrifice was thus necessary to give the world in order).
- the code of religious law can give the list of the objects of substitution (See, for example, Lévitique III and IV)
- For example, two sworn enemy tribes kanaks were reconciled on the sacrifice of a Poindi (wire junior by chief, traditionally equipped with a magic power like heart of the tribe).
If the sacrifice functions, one can observe his good walk the rules to be followed and not to follow (in particular, for the human sacrifices: the behavior of the person sacrificed before her designation, which will have, generally, being dehumanized beforehand to justify the murder), which could be formed a deposit in the form of laws or of divine characteristics, taboos, characteristic of the next sacrifice.
Because of its supposed alleviating and regulating virtues, the sacrifice remains a very common practice, even if it is generally associated with the “primitive” world (a completed past or “delayed” tribes).
Limits and loss of effectiveness
One imagines the comparative advantage of the companies able really to avoid or manage the conflicts without being obliged to destroy the objects or to eliminate from the human ones. From where evolutions towards increasingly soft sacrifices, limiting the destruction. Thus Greek mythology keeps it in memory the passage of the sacrifice of the whole animal to only the least useful parts (skin and bones).
But especially, more deeply, the sacrifice is perhaps not as effective as it of with the air. If the conflict comes besides, the frame of mind of the participants, the elimination of the object of the conflict or the elimination of only one participant does not change anything. One can try to fold back oneself on innocent (relative), but this sacrifice really any more does not go in the world where the Christ posed her mark: the respect of the losers, the victims.
Also, according to Rene Girard, there are now always spoilsports who will denounce the sacrifice like misfit with the problem, and as false solution to a true problem. The unanimity is not acquired any more, the rule derived from the sacrifice is disputed, and the problem remains whole. One in vain will expel in his turn “that by which the scandal arrives”, another rises behind and all starts again.
Only can go a solution right, implying according to this author a renouncement of the conflict by the love, not by refusing or denying the conflict, but by solving it really once the noted conflict.
Sacrifice and martyrdom
Direction of the sacrifice in the Christianity
For the Christian , Jesus de Nazareth sacrificed itself to save mankind.
The tradition reports that with the crucifixion of Jesus, two crucifiés surround it. These are small drainage canals, whose account credits one with them to be good.
Direction of the sacrifice in the IslamIf the sunnism is wary of the martyrdom (which it distinguishes from the sacrifice), the Chi' ism frequently develops a design Christique sacrifice:
direction of the sacrifice in policyto see the article “Kamikaze” to see the article “Nihilism”
The attempt at extermination (among other groups) of the Juif S during the Second world war was named Holocauste. This name induced that this Génocide can be seen as a sacrifice with the Race which would be the divine entity of the Nazisme. This is why the term of holocaust is rejected and one prefers to use the term Shoah which means cataclysm .
Certain suicides presented in the form of political protest can be comparable with sacrifices:
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