Relevance of Sacrifice for social harmony
Rev.V. J. Rajan
Sacrifice is one of the recurring themes in the Bible. New forms of sacrifice and new interpretations of its meaning mixed with old ideas seem to reflect the changes in the understanding of sacrifice. This paper attempts to know more concretely the reason for animal sacrifice. Could not the bond between God and humankind be represented in another ritual form? This study is expected to shed light on the relevance of sacrifice for social harmony I have selected the understanding of sacrifice in the Old Testament or the New Testament or Hinduism and folk religion for this study.
Sacrifice may be defined generally as a rite. E.B. Taylor proposed the hypothesis that sacrifice was originally a gift offered to supernatural beings to attain their favour or minimize their hostility. The purpose of this oblation is to establish or to maintain communion and harmony with God and with fellow human being. This paper attempts to isolate the essential idea on which the sacrificial ritual and symbolism reposes. The following theories point out the following elements in sacrifice: (i) the gift of human being to the deity; (ii) the homage of the subject to the Lord; (iii) the expiation of the offences; (iv) communion with the deity and fellow human being in the sacrificial banquet; (v) life released from the victim transmitted to the deity, and conferred upon the worshippers. However, not all sacrifices are expiatory. This does not appear in several types of Old Testament sacrifices. The element of the banquet is clear in the nature of the victims, which in the Old Testament are food and drink; the worshippers do not share even these. The symbolism of peace offering is a fellowship of a sacrificial banquet. The offerers present a banquet to the deities who in turn accept it and invite the worshipper to dine with them. This signifies the...
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