The Christian Rejection of Animal Sacrifice

Hardcover | January 5, 2012

byDaniel C. Ullucci

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Sacrifice dominated the religious landscape of the ancient Mediterranean world for millennia, but its role and meaning changed dramatically in the fourth and fifth centuries with the rise of Christianity. Daniel Ullucci offers a new explanation of this remarkable transformation, in the processdemonstrating the complexity of the concept of sacrifice in Roman, Greek, and Jewish religion. The Christian Rejection of Animal Sacrifice challenges the predominant scholarly model, which posits a connection between so-called critiques of sacrifice in non-Christian Greek, Latin, and Hebrew texts and the Christian rejection of animal sacrifice. According to this model, pre-Christian authorsattacked the propriety of animal sacrifice as a religious practice, and Christians responded by replacing animal sacrifice with a pure, 'spiritual' 'worship. This historical construction influences prevailing views of animal sacrifice even today, casting it as barbaric, backward, and primitivedespite the fact that it is still practiced in such contemporary religions as Islam and Santeria.Rather than interpret the entire history of animal sacrifice through the lens of the Christian master narrative, Ullucci shows that the ancient texts must be seen not simply as critiques but as part of an ongoing competition between elite cultural producers to define the meaning and purpose ofsacrifice. He reveals that Christian authors were not merely purveyors of pure spiritual religion, but a cultural elite vying for legitimacy and influence in societies that long predated them. The Christian Rejection of Animal Sacrifice is a crucial reinterpretation of the history of one ofhumanity's oldest and most fascinating rituals.

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Sacrifice dominated the religious landscape of the ancient Mediterranean world for millennia, but its role and meaning changed dramatically in the fourth and fifth centuries with the rise of Christianity. Daniel Ullucci offers a new explanation of this remarkable transformation, in the processdemonstrating the complexity of the concept...

Daniel Ullucci received his PhD in Religious Studies from Brown University. He has taught at a number of colleges and universities in the New England area, including: Wheaton College, Holy Cross, Bowdoin College ,Wesleyan University, and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. He is currently at Rhodes College. His research focuses...
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:January 5, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199791708

ISBN - 13:9780199791705

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. The Problem of Animal Sacrifice2. Animal Sacrifice: Theory and Practice3. Ideal Sacrifice vs. the Ideal of No Sacrifice4. Christian Positions on Animal Sacrifice5. A Redescription of Early Christian Positions on Animal Sacrifice6. Epilogue: Julian and the Rejection of SacrificeAppendix: Summary of Early Christian Positions on Sacrifice not Covered in Chapter 4Bibliography