Another human sacrifice reported in the Bible has remained more difficult to interpret in a favorable light and, therefore, has received less attention. Jepthah pledged he would sacrifice the first living creature that he saw when returning home if God would grant him victory in an upcoming battle. The victorious Jepthah was greeted by his daughter upon returning home.
True to his pledge, Jepthah made a burnt offering of his daughter who is not given a name in the biblical account. Why would God intervene for Isaac but not for Jepthah's daughter?
Was Jepthah pious or callous in carrying through with the execution? These questions continue to haunt scholars and ethicists. How many people were sacrificed by the Incas and Aztecs? This question can now be answered with confidence. Yes, the Incas of Peru and the Aztec of Mexico put a great many people to ritualistic death. This proposition was doubted for some years, in part because this kind of mass slaughter was difficult to imagine. Evidence has become increasingly clear, however, that human sacrifice was a core feature of the Inca and Aztec cultures.
Remains of Inca sacrifices have been dated from as long ago as B. Archaeological investigations have found evidence of human sacrifice into the sixteenth century, and this practice is thought to have continued for some time afterward. Tenochtitlan predecessor to Mexico City is known to have been the active site of human sacrifices long before Spanish forces arrived to witness these events firsthand: There were already huge collections of skulls on display. Twenty-first-century historians tend to agree that human sacrifice was both a unifying event and an intense demonstration of religious beliefs for these powerful empires.
The Aztecs believed that the "vital energies" of one person could be transferred to another person through drinking the blood and eating the flesh. The gods also craved flesh and blood, so human sacrifice benefited both Aztecs and their ever-hungry deities. Sacrifice was an integral part of their worldview in which the threat of death was ever present, a threat that had to be countered by extreme and relentless measures that would magically transform death into life. Discoveries since the mid-twentieth century confirm that many women were sacrificed in special rituals intended to renew the fertility cycle.
Peruvian sacrifices were also concerned with encouraging the gods to bless their fertility. For reasons that are not entirely clear, the priests appear to have sacrificed an extraordinary number of children.
Also somewhat obscure are the reasons for their practice of decapitating their victims. Having left no written records, the Incas and other Peruvian cultures have also taken with them their secrets and mysteries. Do human sacrifices still exist? A few scattered reports of ritualistic murders believed to be sacrificial appear in print occasionally, usually in American and European newspapers.
The reports are brief and inconclusive; for example, one October Irish Times article read, "Police in the eastern Indian state of Bihar yesterday dug up the remains of two teenage girls allegedly killed by their father in a ritual human sacrifice this week. It is also possible, however, that credible evidence of contemporary human sacrifice may come to light.
A controversial theory suggests that patriotism, war, and adherence to the flag are incitements to a disguised form of sacrifice. Generally, the homicide rate decreases when a nation is involved in a popular war.
Although there are other ways to interpret this fact, it is a challenging thought that patriotism might be regarded as "a civil religion of blood sacrifice, which periodically kills its children to keep the group together" Marvin and Ingle , p. Benson, Elizabeth P.
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Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece. New York: Routledge, Levenson, Jon D. The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son. Marvin, Carolyn, and David W. Blood Sacrifice and the Nation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Peires, J. The Dead Will Arise. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Read, Kay Almere. Time and Sacrifice in the Aztec Cosmos. Ulansey, David. New York: Oxford University Press, Westermarck, Edward. The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas. London: Macmillan, Young, Dudley. Origins of the Sacred. New York: St. Martin's Press, Powered by JRank.
Sacrifice and Society Human sacrifice is sometimes regarded as a bizarre practice carried out by a few scattered societies who either were uncivilized or exceptionally cruel and violent. The historian Nigel Davies observes that biblical accounts of foundation sacrifices have been supported by archaeological investigations: In the sanctuary in Gezer were found two burnt skeletons of six-year-old children and the skulls of two adolescents that had been sawn in two.
Attempts to Explain Blood Sacrifice No one attempt to explain blood sacrifice seems adequate for the variety of forms and purposes associated with this practice in many societies over many years. Controversies and Unsettled Questions Many questions and differences of opinion continue to exist around the issue of human sacrifice. Bibliography Benson, Elizabeth P. Also read article about Sacrifice from Wikipedia. User Contributions: 1. HI, I'm just trying to confirm that throughout human history sacrifice was always made on the behalf of a country or village.
In other words always for a specific group of people. Can anyone please answer this question for me? Thank you moreno. Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: Name:. E-mail: Show my email publicly. Human Verification:.