Original Research

Bloedoffers en morele vorming: Gewelddadigheid as faset van Christelike tradisies

Pieter J.J. Botha
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 64, No 4 | a87 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v64i4.87 | © 2008 Pieter J.J. Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 January 2008 | Published: 16 January 2008

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Pieter J.J. Botha, Universiteit van Suid-Afrika, South Africa

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Blood sacrifice and moral formation: Violence as a
facet of Christian traditions

Is it possible that the discourse (and the corresponding assumptions) of blood sacrifice contribute to violent behavior? After a brief review of the pervasive presence of blood sacrifice language in formative Christianity, some theoretical perspectives on the concept of sacrifice are discussed. Attention is given to traditional views emphasizing sacrifice as transaction and communication, as well as to the theories of René Girard and Walter Burkert. These theoretical reflections remind us of how interwoven sacrifice and our cultural histories; sacrifice is rooted in coping strategies for powerful and dangerous emotions and events. Some connections between blood sacrifice imagery and sacrificial talk and the possible substantiation and naturalization of violent actions and values are indicated. Sacrifice language is not the only cause of violent behavior, but it does contribute to the cultural scripts of communities, promotes egocentric values, maintains magical components in worldview and facilitates the perception of violence as a commodity.


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