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Rejected Sacrifice in Greek and Hebrew Religion

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Scholars of Greek religion, notably Walter Burkert and Jean-Pierre Vernant, have ignored the few but important examples of sacrifices that meet with rejection, and along with this oversight have minimalized the legal and moral aspect of sacrifice. The same error has led them to overlook the similarity between rejected sacrifice in Greek religion and rejected sacrifice in ancient Judaism, where the same infrequent but important phenomenon occurs. This paper proposes a typology for rejected sacrifice and attempts to balance similarities and differences to be found in Greek and Hebrew practice, notably with respect to sacrifices rejected as punishment for sacrilege.


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