Sacrifice In Ancient Israel Research Paper

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Sacrifice in Ancient Israel Human Sacrifice has been known widely as one of the most controversial and taboo practices that is still an existing part of human culture in some geographical areas even to the present day. This practice dates back to ancient Israel with one of the most infamous and inhumane versions of the practice, burnt offering of children. The question of whether or not this was truly a followed practice in ancient Israel is highly debated amongst theology and bible scholars alike as well as archaeologists and anthropologists whose career goal is to discover the truth about ancient human techniques, behaviors, and practices. This essay will analyze both sides of the debate in an effort to evaluate potential substantial reasons…show more content…
Typically with ancient Israel, sacrifices are thought of as “giving over” not “giving up”. This quote essentially means that when one makes a sacrifice in ancient Israel, they are transferring something from the physical and worldly to a more divine and godly and divine state of being. The latin root of the word sacrifice is “sacrificare” which, translated, means to make sacred. It expresses the permanent transfer of something from human to supernatural, which effectively substantiates the utilization of human sacrifice in ancient Israel, passing things on from the physical human realm to the divine spiritual one. This process is a transformative one, and is one of the most common ways that things were transformed in the Hebrew bible. To destroy it (burn it/eliminate it’s physical body) meant to remove it from this realm and place it in the next (as, previously stated). Leviticus 1:13 states that the smoke of the burning from a sacrifice was a “pleasing aroma” to God, the smoke being the transformed form of the physical being, and it…show more content…
I will briefly describe these sacrifices, in the order they appear in Leviticus, highlighting some key features. A key fact to note (which I will discuss below) is that sacrifices were made with the mediation of priests, who had exclusive access to the sacrificial altar. 1) Burnt Offering (Hebrew, ‘olah; lit., “ascending offering”) (Lev 1; 6:8-13). This could be a herd or flock animal (bull, sheep, or goat) or a bird (dove or pigeon). The defining feature of this sacrifice was that the whole animal or bird was burned in the altar fire. It was, therefore, the most extravagant sacrifice. 2) Grain Offering (Hebrew, minhah; lit., “gift”) (Lev 2; 6:14-23). This was an offering of fine flour or unleavened baked goods, mixed with oil. A handful of the offering was burned (with incense) in the altar fire. The rest went to the priests. 3) Sacrifice of Well-Being/Fellowship Offering (Hebrew, zevah shelamim) (Lev 3; 7:11-35). A herd or flock animal could be offered. Innards (fat, kidneys, and part of the liver) were burned in the altar fire. Most of the animal was eaten, divided between the priests and the offerer. This sacrifice was, therefore, associated with feasting. As the name suggests, it had a strongly positive character. 4) Sin Offering/Purification Offering (Hebrew, hatta’t) (Lev 4:1 – 5:13; 6:24-30). This sacrificial offering dealt with various forms of disruption in the relationship between human

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