Special Issue "Sacrifice and Religion"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Daniel Ullucci

Department of Religious Studies, Rhodes College, 2000 North Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112, USA
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sacrifice is one of the most analyzed, theorized, and debated practices in Religious Studies. It also looms large in the history and ideology of many of the world’s religious traditions, and this salience of ‘sacrifice’ (in all its elaborations) has strongly impacted the scholarly study of the ritual. Many of the classical theories of sacrifice have been soundly critiqued, and recent scholarship has attempted to cut through this historical and theological baggage by re-contextualizing and re-theorizing the ritual in a number of ways. At the same time, scholars have also recognized that the term ‘sacrifice’ (along with an array of related terms in various languages) has been metaphorically and discursively expanded to include concepts and practices that have little to do with the actual act of making physical offerings to imagined beings. This issue welcomes scholarship which brings new theoretical insights from the humanities and social sciences to bear on the practice of physical offerings and/or the discourses surrounding it. By distinguishing the act itself from discourse surrounding the act, we may see better the ways in which both are deployed strategically by actors in a variety of cultural and historical settings. How can an analysis of “sacrifice” (the practice and/or the discourse) still aid the study of religion past and present?

Focus: This issue is focused on critical redescriptive analysis of ritual practices and/or the creation of discourses surrounding “sacrifice.” “Sacrifice” is understood to be a contested category—a competitive nexus of practice and discourse.

Scope: The issue is not limited to any particular time period or cultural context. It is open to any critical analysis of practice and/or discourse.

Prof. Daniel Ullucci
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sacrifice
  • Animal sacrifice
  • Ritual
  • Ritualization
  • Offering
  • Gift
  • Reciprocity

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Unique Sacrifice of Christ According to Hebrews 9: A Study in Theological Creativity
Religions 2019, 10(1), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010047
Received: 6 November 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 12 January 2019
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Abstract
The letter to the Hebrews develops a distinct christological and soteriological concept of Jesus as both high priest and unique sacrifice once and for all. In doing so, Hebrews remains largely faithful to cult traditions of Second Temple Judaism. Especially the concept of [...] Read more.
The letter to the Hebrews develops a distinct christological and soteriological concept of Jesus as both high priest and unique sacrifice once and for all. In doing so, Hebrews remains largely faithful to cult traditions of Second Temple Judaism. Especially the concept of Jesus as sacrifice is, however, theologically creative and innovative. The present essay explores these dynamic developments and discusses how they led early Christianity to ultimately abandon the temple cult. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacrifice and Religion)
Open AccessArticle “Sacrifice” in the Trump Era
Religions 2019, 10(1), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010034
Received: 2 November 2018 / Revised: 7 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
This article examines public conversations about sacrifice involving Donald Trump, his supporters and his critics. The author demonstrates that Trump, as a candidate and while president, has used specific discursive strategies in defining, ignoring and denigrating sacrificial acts. These strategies, as played out [...] Read more.
This article examines public conversations about sacrifice involving Donald Trump, his supporters and his critics. The author demonstrates that Trump, as a candidate and while president, has used specific discursive strategies in defining, ignoring and denigrating sacrificial acts. These strategies, as played out in conversations about sacrifice, distinguish Trump from previous presidents, maintaining his position as a “Washington outsider” even while in office and reinforcing his alignment with his base while isolating other communities within the country and sidelining the mainstream media. In redefining, dismissing and denigrating sacrifice, he undercuts prominent institutions (Congress, mainstream media) and publicly devalues specific communities within the United States. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacrifice and Religion)
Open AccessArticle Sacrifice and ‘Religion’: Modeling Religious Change in the Roman Empire
Religions 2019, 10(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010016
Received: 27 October 2018 / Revised: 15 December 2018 / Accepted: 21 December 2018 / Published: 28 December 2018
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Abstract
In this paper I present a model for describing the change in religion that took place during the Roman imperial period, a model that is built around a contrast between orthopraxy and orthodoxy. I begin with a brief survey of the most important [...] Read more.
In this paper I present a model for describing the change in religion that took place during the Roman imperial period, a model that is built around a contrast between orthopraxy and orthodoxy. I begin with a brief survey of the most important earlier models of religious change in the Roman empire, followed by an initial sketch of my own proposed model. In the third and fourth sections I elaborate on this model in more detail by developing it through two brief case studies: the Graeco-Roman practice of animal sacrifice and the nascent Christian discourse around that practice. In analyzing animal sacrifice, I focus on its role in constructing the socio-political and cultural structures of the Roman empire. For the Christian discourse of sacrifice, I limit myself to one particular text, Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, which provides some of the earliest surviving reflections on sacrifice by a Christ-follower. I close with a few comments on some of the limitations as well as the potential of my proposed model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacrifice and Religion)
Open AccessArticle Reciprocity and the Risk of Rejection: Debate over Sacrifice in the Hebrew Bible
Religions 2018, 9(12), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120422
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 13 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
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Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacrifice and Religion)
Open AccessArticle The Cup of God’s Wrath: Libation and Early Christian Meal Practice in Revelation
Religions 2018, 9(12), 413; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9120413
Received: 27 July 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 13 December 2018
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Abstract
This article examines how the use of libation imagery, such as bowls (phialai) and wine, in the Book of Revelation to showcase the ways in which early Christians negotiated the language of sacrifice into their own praxis. As opposed to embracing [...] Read more.
This article examines how the use of libation imagery, such as bowls (phialai) and wine, in the Book of Revelation to showcase the ways in which early Christians negotiated the language of sacrifice into their own praxis. As opposed to embracing libation imagery, as occurs in other New Testament texts (e.g., Luke’s cup in 22:20; Philippians 2:17), Revelation uses such imagery to point to wrong religious practice. Libation practice is used as a metaphor for God’s wrath (e.g., “wine poured … unmixed into the cup of [God’s] anger” in Revelation 14:10); the libations that are poured out in the vision of the Bowls of Wrath, in chapter 16, pour out plagues. The implications of this judgmental imagery for early Christian hearers of this text in Asia Minor, and for their own meal practices, are significant. I argue that the edicts against the Thyatirans and the Pergamians in the letters of Revelation refer to their use of wine in Eucharistic practice—a practice which John condemns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacrifice and Religion)
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