Sacrifice is a central but contested topic in the prophetical literature in the Hebrew Bible. Whereas some texts criticize the sacrificial cult vehemently, other texts express strong support for such a cult. Interestingly, and somewhat paradoxically, a certain writing, such as the book of Jeremiah, may contain both cult-critical prophecies and passages that promote sacrifices. Divergent interpretations of this ancient debate have engendered an intense scholarly debate. Adopting a new approach, informed by sacrifice theories that emphasize the notion of reciprocity, this article refutes the view that prophets like Amos and Jeremiah rejected all
sacrifices. Rather, they (that is, the authors of these books) addressed specific situations, or explained specific catastrophes in retrospect. Viewed from this perspective, the cult-critical prophecies, as well as other references to rejected sacrifice, are in fact compatible with a basically positive attitude towards the sacrificial cult.
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