Human Sacrifice and Value: Revisiting the Limits of Sacred Violence from an Anthropological and Archaeological Perspective

Matthew Walsh (Editor), Sean O’Neill (Editor), Marianne Moen (Editor), Svein Harald Gullbekk (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthologyResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The present volume was made possible by the Norwegian Research Council’s generous funding of the Human Sacrifice and Value project (FRIPROHUMSAM 275947). This volume explores concepts of human sacrifice, focusing on its value – or multiplicity of values – in relative cultural and temporal terms, whether sacrifice is expressed in actual killings, in ideas revolving around ritualized, sanctioned or sanctified violence or loss, or in transformed and (often sublimated) undertakings.

Bridging a wide variety of interdisciplinary perspectives, it analyses a spectrum of sacrificial logics and actions, daring us to rethink the scholarship of sacrifice by considering the oft hidden, subliminal and even paradoxical values and motivations that underlie sacrificial acts. The chapters give needed attention to pivotal questions in studies of sacrifice and ritualized violence – such as how we might employ new approaches to the existing evidence or revise long-debated theories about what exactly ‘human sacrifice’ is or might be, or why human sacrifice seems to emerge so often and so easily in human social experience across time and in vastly different cultures and historical contexts. Thus, the volume will strike a chord with scholars of sociology, anthropology, archaeology, history, religious studies, political science and economics – wherever interest is focused on critically rethinking questions of sacred and sanctified human violence, and the values that make it what it is.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
Number of pages422
ISBN (Electronic)9781032134864
Publication statusPublished - 2024
SeriesStudies in Death, Materiality and the Origin of Time

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