The End of Sacrifice, Revisited
The conclusion builds on the analyses presented in the book’s chapters to integrate the rabbinic sacrificial corpus into the trans-religious and trans-regional story of the gradual decline and ultimate demise of sacrifice in the course of the first Millennium C.E. It argues that a serious consideration of this corpus allows us to identify important correspondences between rabbinic ideas and developments and contemporaneous Greek, Roman, and early Christian ideas and developments, and that these correspondences go well beyond the paradigm of “substitution” according to which sacrifices were progressively replaced with alternative forms of worship. The conclusion shows that the discursive persistence of sacrifice in Jewish literature and art despite the inapplicability of sacrificial practice to the audience’s lives, the elaborate theory of sacrifice that the rabbis construct in defiance of earlier biblical precepts, and the utilization of sacrifice in creating an idealized public religion, are all manners in which the rabbis participate in, contribute to, and appropriate existing ancient and late ancient conversations on sacrifice.
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