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Author Topic: Animal Sacrifice in Ancient Greek Religion, Judaism, and Christianity, 100 BC to AD 200  (Read 7089 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Topic Start: February 20, 2010, 10:07:17 am »

Title: Animal Sacrifice in Ancient Greek Religion, Judaism, and Christianity, 100 BC to AD 200
Author(s): Maria-Zoe Petropolou
Publisher: Oxford:  Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2008
ISBN: 0199218544
Current Price and More Info from Amazon

From the Bryn Mawr Classic Review:
This important book is a survey and analysis of animal sacrifice in Greek polytheism, Judaism, and Christianity, from 100 BC to AD 200, in the eastern Mediterranean. It is part of a recent resurgence of studies on sacrifice in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and its relationship to Judaism and Christianity.1 The author is motivated by "the fact that Christianity is known as a religion with no altars for slaughter, in combination with the historical fact that early Christians came from religious environments where animal sacrifice was practiced" (p. v). Despite this ultimate goal of understanding Christian sacrifice, the work is most useful as a series of individual studies. Petropoulou bases her research almost entirely upon textual sources, both literary and epigraphic; given the geographical area of study, most of these are in Greek, although she also considers the Mishnah in English translation. Rather than assuming a decline in Greek animal sacrifice in the Roman period, a frequent assertion made popular especially by the influential scholar M.P. Nilsson, Petropolou demonstrates its continued significance during the first two centuries of the development of Christianity. In this context, she then explores Hellenistic Jewish, early Rabbinic, and early Christian attitudes to animal sacrifice.

Read the full review at the Bryn Mawr Classic Review web site.

Additional Description:
A study of animal sacrifice within Greek paganism, Judaism, and Christianity during the period of their interaction between about 100 BC and AD 200. After a vivid account of the realities of sacrifice in the Greek East and in the Jerusalem Temple (up to AD 70), Maria-Zoe Petropoulou explores the attitudes of early Christians towards this practice. Contrary to other studies in this area, she demonstrates that the process by which Christianity finally separated its own cultic code from the strong tradition of animal sacrifice was a slow and difficult one. Petropoulou places special emphasis on the fact that Christians gave completely new meanings to the term `sacrifice'. She also explores the question why, if animal sacrifice was of prime importance in the eastern Mediterranean at this time, Christians should ultimately have rejected it.

Special Notes:

Legal Notes: Some description text and item pictures in this post may come from and are used by permission. The Cauldron is an Amazon Affiliate and purchases made through the Amazon links in this message help support The Cauldron.

Discussion and reviews of this book are welcome in this thread. If you've read the book, please tell us what you think of it and why.

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