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Philosophy and the End of Sacrifice

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This volume addresses the means and ends of sacrificial speculation by inviting a selected group of specialist in the fields of philosophy, history of religions, and indology to examine philosophical modes of sacrificial speculation — especially in Ancient India and Greece — and consider the commonalities of their historical raison d’être. Scholars have long observed, yet without presenting any transcultural grand theory on the matter, that sacrifice seems to end with (or even continue as) philosophy in both Ancient India and Greece. How are we to understand this important transformation that so profoundly changed the way we think of religion (and philosophy as opposed to religion) today? Some of the complex topics inviting closer examination in this regard are the interiorisation of ritual, ascetism and self-sacrifice, sacrifice and cosmogony, the figure of the philosopher-sage, transformations and technologies of the self, analogical reasoning, the philosophy of ritual, vegetarianism, and metempsychosis.

Published: Feb 11, 2016


Section Chapter Authors
Prelims Peter Jackson
Introduction Peter Jackson, Anna-Pya Sjödin
I Historical and Comparative Approaches to Ritual Thought in Ancient India and Ancient Greece
1. The Principle of Equivalence and the Interiorization of Ritual: The “End” of Ritual? Stephanie Jamison
2.Ritual Interiorization and Abstract Action Clemens Cavallin
3. Lord over this Whole World: Agency and Philosophy in Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad Anna-Pya Sjödin
4. “The End of Sacrifice” and the Absence of “Religion”: The Pecuiar Case of India Gerald Larson
5. The Crisis of Sacrifice Peter Jackson
II Ritual Transformations in Late Antiquity
6. The End of Sacrifice Revisited Guy Stroumsa
7. The All as logikê thusia:The Egyptian Prehistory of a Hermetic Idea Jørgen Sørensen
8. No End to Sacrifice in Hermetism Christian Bull
9. Beyond Righteousness and Transgression: Reading the Gospel of Truth and the Gospel of Judas from an Acosmic Perspective Jörgen Magnusson
10. Sacrificial Subjectivity: Faith and Interiorization of Cultic Practice in the Pauline Letters Hans Ruin
III Repercussions of Sacrifice in Western Philosophy
11. Philosophical Sacrifice Marcia Sa Cavalcante Schuback
End Matter
Index Peter Jackson


Philosophy and the End of Sacrifice is interesting and thought-provoking. It does not uncritically accept the claim of an early common-era "axial age" but definitely finds something new and important appearing or consolidating and spreading in that age. also provides another challenge to the dominant Girardian theory of sacrifice ... .
Anthropology Review Database

The End of Sacrifice is an engaging book. The chapters are learned and well-written, and often dialogue with each other — at least with some help from the reader, who in the process is stimulated towards more nuanced thinking about rituals of sacrifice. The contributors present strong arguments against simplifying these complex and dynamic rituals.