Attitudes to Sacrifice in the Old Testament: Accounting for the Difference

Garner, Gary O. (2003) Attitudes to Sacrifice in the Old Testament: Accounting for the Difference. (Unpublished)

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Throughout the Old Testament the concept of sacrifice is explored and carried out in various ways. Not always a Godly offering (i.e. sometimes the OT contains details or records of pagan rites), the act of sacrifice is undertaken with attitudes as varied as the acts themselves.

The attitudes expressed range from one of worship, rejoicing and thankfulness (a predominant feature of many sacrifices to the Lord God), to anger, extreme actions or disdain. The range of attitudes may be readily appreciated by considering the context. For example, consider the gratitude of the Israelites when God saved their firstborn, simply by sacrificing an animal whose blood was strategically placed around their house (the "Passover"). This contrasts sharply with the Canaanites sacrifices to pagan gods which included such things as child-sacrifice, witchcraft and sorcery.

The act of sacrifice, in a biblical or spiritual context, involves the offering of valued possessions to a god (and in so doing probably making them holy) – it is usually conducted as an act of worship or adoration. Commentators such as Beckwith suggest that sacrifice has a crucial role in maintaining order and restoring the equilibrium when that order is disturbed, whilst others such as Eiuchrodt observe that sacrifice is essentially a symbolic practice which can change in meaning even while their form remains the same. Whatever the definition or meaning, as it might apply in the OT context, we can be certain that for the New Testament man the advent of Christ and his sacrifice acts to supersede all other sacrifices.

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ID Code: 7235
Item Type: Other
Refereed: No
Keywords: Old Testament, sacrifice, God, worship, Lord, Passover, Canaanite, pagan, witchcraft, sorcery, biblical, spiritual, Christ
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > RELIGION AND RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS (220400) > Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History) (220401)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Gary Garner
Deposited On: 27 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:39

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