Academic journal article Theological Studies

Sacrifice and Modern Thought

Academic journal article Theological Studies

Sacrifice and Modern Thought

Article excerpt

Sacrifice and Modern Thought. Edited by Julia Mezaros and Johannes Zachhuber. Oxford: Oxford University, 2013. Pp. ix + 279. $99.

The book may be best summarized in contributor Philip McCosker's words: "There is no one definition of sacrifice--it is an inherently aporetic or lacunic reality--and ... it is therefore a polyvalent concept with many senses" (133). The essays are wideranging, brought together by a word with many meanings rather than by a unified idea.

Predominant is the notion of sacrifice as the destruction of a victim, whether it be the slaughter of an animal, the taking of human life, or the surrender of something for the benefit of others. Thus we find in this volume essays titled "Sacrifice as Self-destructive 'Love,'" "From Slaughtered Lambs to Dedicated Lives," and "The Aztec Sacrificial Complex."

Given the popularity of Rene Girard's theory of ritual sacrifice as a scapegoat mechanism, it is not surprising that three of the essays treat or draw upon Girard's ideas at some length. Girard has postulated that, in archaic religions, sacrifice was a controlled way of reenacting a foundational murder that brought peace between warring groups.

Some treatment is given to Augustine's interpretation of sacrifice as symbolic of "an internal act that attunes the agent to God" (3). Augustine broadened the concept to include "every work that establishes community between human beings and God" (16). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.