The first chapter aims to reconstruct the rabbinic paradigm of sacrifice as a religious practice, and to examine how the rabbis understand the workings and value of the sacrificial process. Its point of departure is the biblical model of sacrifice, which is an interactive model in essence. In contrast, the chapter argues, the rabbis reconfigure the sacrificial process in a distinctly and emphatically non-interactive model by underplaying both the giver and receiver in the process. This chapter focuses on the role of the offerer (or “owner”) in rabbinic sacrificial legislation, arguing that the rabbis significantly restrict the function and agency of individual offerers within the sacrificial process, both in terms of physical participation and in terms of mental impact, and thereby create a model of sacrifice that is explicitly non-personal and non-communicative.
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