And he cites Jose Saramago novel as proof for these claims.
Why pick on the Jews by presenting wild claims about the ancient practice of animal sacrifice, when, if he had wanted to be more specific, he could have used present day Spain, where bulls are being sacrificed on the altar of Mammon on a daily basis. I think Mr. Dahl should consider participating in the Pamplona bull race, where he might be invited to reflect on the difference of an abolished yet sacred rite and wholesale animal torture designed to please drunk macho twits.
But no, apparently the most relevant example of animal sacrifice can only be found in a fictional book
google translate, lifted from dagbladet.no
Why do we sacrifice ?
Sacrifice, sacrificing – an expression of gratitude, a celebration or a rite . What is the rationale for this oh so human action?
SUNDAY COMMENT : In this Christmas time is the idea of a”victim” hovers just below the surface . We are encouraged to sacrifice the sweets , give up on the gifts , and tighten the budgets . The more we celebrate and rejoice , the more we are encouraged to think vice versa. Let us seize this opportunity to reflect on the importance of sacrifice and sacrificing as a the basis for our culture.
For deep does it go , this idea of sacrificing certain things in certain ways , to ensure a safer future for themselves and others. To bring offerings are fundamental for all religious beliefs. this is readily appreciated in the book ” Greek and Roman Animal Sacrifice ” ( 2012) , which shows how important it was to put things on the altar, burn it and watch the smoke rise into the air – and then to eat whatever the flames did not devour be it grain, meat, or prepared foods.
Why did they do it , Greeks , Romans , Jews – all those who founded our culture ? Yes , why is the sacrifice to higher powers a custom in use even today in countries that we consider near and dear ones? We ourselves do not offer sacrifices in the old way, we don’t believe in such things. Sacrifices to the higher powers are to us a matter of superstition, some sort of magic . But over the millennia , we have believed in it , and much of the past culture that we honor and admire as our own, are based on sacrifice , sacrifigium . Even when we are encouraged to sacrifice today , there are echoes of the old , which lies deep in our humanity .
So fundamental is this all time was , that anthropologists and scientists expect that kind of sacrifice as a rite – and a very common rite too. This means that it has been repeated and repeated , year after year , century after century, because people felt that something was wrong , or not quite right, if they did not gatherer for an annual sacrifice and dragged their prize calf or magnificent ram the altar to kill it, and then offer the animal heart or the precious innards on the fire – altar to see the smoke rise into the air.
Now – rituals we know . When we say ” it will not be Christmas without lutefisk ” or ” no summer without grilling on the porch ,” then we are in a sense in the powerful grip of the rituals . We have to do a certain thing to get that feel-good feeling. That it feels right, is reason good enough. The rituals maintain themselves, which is why they are rituals.
That the ancient Israelites sacrificed is well known . Exodus gives a detailed account in this respect , and lists the different types: burnt offerings , grain offerings , peace offerings , sin offerings, and so on . It is often said that Javhe religion built on a principle of humility , which made it completely different from the surrounding religions and their customs. But the sacrifice on the altar was practiced throughout the Mediterranean region , among the Greeks and Romans , moreover, the east and the far north of Germania . Gods and magistrates could vary and altar serving different purposes, but the act itself was strangely similar over large areas. From Norse times have we of course lots of traces of sacrifice , just took it up in the Cultural Encyclopedia of the Medieval age , you’ll see . We were certainly not folding back in this sport. Many of the Christmas traditions that still live or lived until recently , arising from the rites around midwinter blot .
The Jewish animal sacrifice is especially known . The temple in Jerusalem was sprinkled with blood and mucus as an eternal bleating , whining noise , and bleating rose up where the poor animals were brought to the slaughter . A nauseating smell came over the Temple Mount because of all the fires . In José Saramago ‘s novel “Jesus Gospel ” is an incomparably scene where the main character is going to sacrifice his beautiful , snow-white little lamb – but backing off in disgust before this barbaric slaughter .
The early Christians would not sacrifice to the surrounding residents Greeks’ and Romans’ wrath. The Jews also joined with the destruction of the Temple in 70CE , when the temple cult became impossible to practice. The Christians developed instead Eucharist , one rite where the wine and bread are included as ” offerings “, carried forward in the churches today . But the Greeks and Romans were doing their slaughter , not to mention our own Nordic ancestors , until Christianity became general in Europe roughly between the years 400 and 800
Why did they sacrifice ? What is the reason that people thousands of years believed in this kind of contact with higher powers ? It is indeed a difficult question .
Some believe that the amelioration of god or deities is the main reason , and that sacrifice on the altar , a rite aimed at overcoming the fear of falling out of favor . The incense burned in many churches today , recalling the scents that rose into the sky like prayers to heaven. Others see the sacrifice as agricultural society magic to ensure good crops and animal fat . Who will not be on the safe side here? A third explanation lies in the community as the most places were part of the sacrifice : that the village people gathered together in an annual delight meal, or that the church united in communion , yes believe victim action is meaningful only as a contribution to the community. Robinson Crusoe had no need to sacrifice , even as religious he was.
God , crops or community enjoyment : There are good reasons for all the explanations why people of almost all ages have flocked to this rite . Sacrifices have a deep existential character , think of the ballet ” The Rite of Spring ,” which in Glen Tetlys choreography went to the Opera House last year . Stravinsky’s music is brutal , yet tender , pioneering and at the same ritual . No wonder it is considered the gateway to the 20th century modernism. Ambiguous , inexplicable – just as the sacrifice itself.
So therefore , we forsake our goods , whether we burn them at the stake or simply abstain from enjoying tin solidarity with the needy in the world. We forsake them , for many different reasons. Maybe it’s just multiplicity of motives that makes this act so human.