Sacrifice and Modern Thought

ISBN : 9780199659289

Johannes Zachhuber; Julia Meszaros
304 ページ
162 x 237 mm

Sacrifice has always been central to the study of religion yet attempts to understand and assess the concept have usually been controversial. The present book, which is the result of several years of interdisciplinary collaboration, suggests that in many ways the fascination with sacrifice has its roots in modernity itself. Theological developments following the Reformation, the rediscovery of Greek tragedies, and the encounter with the practice of human sacrifice in the Americas triggered a complex and passionate debate in the sixteenth century which has never since abated. Contributors to this volume, leading experts from theology, anthropology, and literary and cultural studies, describe and discuss how this modern fascination for the topic of sacrifice has evolved, how it has shaped theological debate, the literary imagination, and anthropological theory. Individual chapters discuss in depth major theological trajectories, theories of sacrifice including those of Marcel Mauss and Rene Girard, and current feminist criticism. They engage with sacrifice in the context of religious and philosophical thought, works of literature and film. They explore different yet overlapping aspects of modernity's obsession with sacrifice. The book does not intend to impose a single narrative over all these diverse contributions but brings them into a conversation around a common centre.


1. Modern Discourse on Sacrifice and its Theological Background
2. Sacrifice as self-destructive love : why autonomy should still matter to feminists
3. Sacrifice, Atonement and Renewal: Intersections between Girard, Kristeva and von Balthasar
4. Sacrifice and the self
5. Sacrificial Cults as the Mysterious Centre of Every Religion : A Girardian Assessment of Aby Warburg s Theory of Religion
6. From Slaughtered Lambs to Dedicated Lives: Sacrifice as Value-Bestowal
7. Sacrifice as Refusal
8. Sacrifice in Recent Roman Catholic Thought: From Paradox to Polarity, and Back Againa
9. Using Hubert and Mauss to think about sacrifice
10. The Aztec Sacrificial Complex
11. Human Sacrifice and Two Imaginative Worlds, Aztec and Christian. Finding God in Evil
12. Blood Sacrifice as a Symbol of the Paradigmatic Other: The debate about ebo-rituals in the Americas
13. Apocalypse and Sacrifice in Modern Film: American Exceptionalism and a Scandinavian Alternative
14. Human Sacrifice and the Literary Imagination


Julia Meszaros, Catholic University of Leuven; Johannes Zachhuber, University of Oxford