Anthropological Aspects of the Sacrifice


  • MARCELA-MĂDĂLINA MACOVEI PhD Student at Faculty of Social and Political Science, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi, associated professor at F.E.G. Iasi


sacrifice, crisis, executioner, victim, crime, ritual


The sacrificial theme, be it of human or animal origin, has caused major interest from anthropologists and ethnologists. From a number of sources we find out that were a varied number of rituals based on sacrifice, rituals done to please the gods, fertilize the soil or to banish the dangers from a community. This paper aims to map out the first types of human sacrifice based on a number of literary sources from renowned anthropologists and ethnologists like: Marcel Mauss, Henri Hubert, Claude Lévi-Strauss, René Girard and others. The paper outlines the types of violence present into the act of sacrifice and how they can move from a state to another: from criminal violence to purifying violence. Only when the stages of ceremony are respected strictly, the violence present in the act will be a purifying one and will not turn to criminal violence. Myths expose the transformation of violence from a purifying one to a criminal one and are relevant most of the time for displaying the sacrificial crisis. Sacrifice as a subject will gain most elaborate nuances and will distinguish itself in all the areas of human existence.


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