Anthropological Aspects of the Sacrifice



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.


sacrifice; crisis; executioner; victim; crime; ritual


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