Thursday, 12 April 2018

Sacrifice And Resurrection

"'On Old Earth, sacrificial religion was normally associated with agricultural societies, which were more vitally dependent on continued fertility and good weather than hunters.'"
-Poul Anderson, "The Sharing of Flesh" IN Anderson, Flandry's Legacy (Riverdale, NY, 2012), pp. 661-708 AT p. 704.

Shintoism is, in origin, a neolithic/hunter-gatherer religion whereas Hinduism originated in the Bronze Age. See Divine Names, combox. The Vedic beginnings of Hinduism included a horse sacrifice. Sacrifice was a concept vital to pagans, to Jews and to converts from both traditions to Christianity.

I have suggested elsewhere that Christianity stands at the crossroads between the seasonal, cyclical time of rural communities and the linear, historical time of urban civilizations and therefore historicized the death and resurrection myth. The sacrificial death and resurrection no longer recur annually but occurred once under Pontius Pilate.

Combox discussion of the "Divine Names" post identifies Shintoism as a survival of an even earlier form of religion.

Dominic Flandry addressed his murdered fiancee. Evalyth addresses her murdered husband. Prayer is natural in extremities.

10 comments:

S.M. Stirling said...

However, note that the Old Testament is a record of the divine will -acting through history- . It's a history of the Hebrews; Christianity got the historicism from its parent. And the millenarian, chiliastic elements come from late pre-rabbinic Judaism too.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

Exactly! And we Catholics (along with those Protestants who agree with us about the Trinity and the Incarnation/Passion/Resurrection of Christ) say the NT is a continuation of that record of God acting thru history. I have tried to point out that things like the Shroud of Turin and shrines such as Lourdes, at the very least, gives us indications of God having acted and continuing to act in the world.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
Thank you for reminding me of the historicism of the OT. I knew that but had not connected it up.
Paul.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

As works of history, I think the books of Judges and Samuel predates Herodotus' work.

Sean

S.M. Stirling said...

Incidentally the more archaeological data we get, the better the OT (or at least the parts dealing with Judges on) looks as history.

Paul Shackley said...

Mr Stirling,
A deal of important stuff happens before Judges, though.
Paul.

S.M. Stirling said...

A standing problem is that archaeology dealing with preliterate settings has problems detailing either with specific political events or with things which don't have a strong material signature.

Eg., fairly recently it was found that previous excavations of Troy had missed the lower quarter of the city, which made the place appear much smaller than it was because they were getting only the citadel. And with the lower city thrown in, it looks a lot more like the description in Homer.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Of course! But books of the OT such as Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, while containing traditions very likely to be historically based, also contains a good deal of legend, "myth," theological reflections, etc.

Sean

S.M. Stirling said...

Sagas can fossilize historical knowledge; the problem is to separate that from stuff thrown in later to improve the story, or the temptation to shoehorn all the legendary heroes into the same continuity, rather like the Marvel movies do.

(Poul notes this in his intro to HROLF KRAKI'S SAGA).

Eg., the Volsungasaga includes perfectly genuine historical events from 6 centuries before its composition in the form we know (things like the Hun-Goth wars in the 4th century Ukraine) but scrambles the chronology and throws in people from two centuries later like Theodoric the Great.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Dear Mr. Stirling,

And the Time Patrol's attempt to sort out in the correct order the persons and events mentioned in the Volsungasaga merely ended with its own man, Carl Furniss, getting entangled in those legends!

Sean