Description : An examination of the practice and philosophy of sacrifice in three religious traditions In the book of Genesis, God tests the faith of the Hebrew patriarch Abraham by demanding that he sacrifice the life of his beloved son, Isaac. Bound by common admiration for Abraham, the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam also promote the practice of giving up human and natural goods to attain religious ideals. Each tradition negotiates the moral dilemmas posed by Abraham’s story in different ways, while retaining the willingness to perform sacrifice as an identifying mark of religious commitment. This book considers the way in which Jews, Christians, and Muslims refer to “sacrifice”—not only as ritual offerings, but also as the donation of goods, discipline, suffering, and martyrdom. Weddle highlights objections to sacrifice within these traditions as well, presenting voices of dissent and protest in the name of ethical duty. Sacrifice forfeits concrete goods for abstract benefits, a utopian vision of human community, thereby sparking conflict with those who do not share the same ideals. Weddle places sacrifice in the larger context of the worldviews of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, using this nearly universal religious act as a means of examining similarities of practice and differences of meaning among these important world religions. This book takes the concept of sacrifice across these three religions, and offers a cross-cultural approach to understanding its place in history and deep-rooted traditions.
Description : Compares and contrasts texts from the three religions as they deal with their origins, their role in society, the law, worship and the spiritual life, and the end of the world
Description : A nuclear Israel waits for its Messiah, a nuclear America eagerly anticipates the second coming of Christ, and a nuclear Iran believes it can expedite the return of the hidden or twelfth imam. Are apocalyptic expectations, like all other ideologies, simply evolutionÕs way of keeping the human population in check? Is religion true? Does God exist? What happens to us when we die? What should the afterlife mean for us while we are alive? Are these the greatest of all questions, and if so, why? After thousands of years and countless religious traditions, why does the world continue to hunger for spiritual truth? Why are religious lives so often filled with doubt, worry, and dark nights of the soul? Do you believe in pregnant virgins? Do you believe in the incarnation of an immutable God? Do you believe that an eternal God died? Do you believe Jesus redeemed an Israel that has totally rejected him? Do you believe a loving Jesus will return to bring the world to a tragic end? Do you believe that contradictions canÕt both be true? Do you believe the human anatomy is designed for meditation or mobility? If God had indeed chosen the prophet Muhammad to warn the people, why didnÕt Muhammad warn Muslims not to split Islam into Sunni and Shiite? It has been said that if we donÕt challenge our beliefs, our beliefs will eventually challenge us. Disillusionment with religion, not to mention global crises, is forcing believers to question the basis of their faith. Socrates on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam addresses those who are unsatisfied with the belief systems they encountered in orthodox religions. This book will assist searchers as they embark on their solitary quest for spiritual discovery.
Description : The religious transformations that marked late antiquity represent an enigma that has challenged some of the West's greatest thinkers. But, according to Guy Stroumsa, the oppositions between paganism and Christianity that characterize prevailing theories have endured for too long. Instead of describing this epochal change as an evolution within the Greco - Roman world from polytheism to monotheism, he argues that the cause for this shift can be found not so much around the Mediterranean as in the Near East. The End of Sacrifice points to the role of Judaism, particularly its inventions of new religious life following the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. The end of animal sacrifice gave rise to new forms of worship, with a concern for personal salvation, scriptural study, rituals like praying and fasting, and the rise of religious communities and monasticism. It is what Christianity learned from Judaism about texts, death, and, above all, sacrifice that allowed it to supersede Greco - Roman religions and, Stroumsa argues, transform religion itself. A concise and original approach to a much - studied moment in religious history, The End of Sacrifice will be heralded by all scholars of late antiquity.
Description : Abraham on Trial questions the foundations of faith that have made a virtue out of the willingness to sacrifice a child. Through his desire to obey God at all costs, even if it meant sacrificing his son, Abraham became the definitive model of faith for the major world religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In this bold look at the legacy of this biblical and qur'anic story, Carol Delaney explores how the sacrifice rather than the protection of children became the focus of faith, to the point where the abuse and betrayal of children has today become widespread and sometimes institutionalized. Her strikingly original analysis also offers a new perspective on what unites and divides the peoples of the sibling religions derived from Abraham and, implicitly, a way to overcome the increasing violence among them. Delaney critically examines evidence from Jewish, Christian, and Muslim interpretations, from archaeology and Freudian theory, as well as a recent trial in which a father sacrificed his child in obedience to God's voice, and shows how the meaning of Abraham's story is bound up with a specific notion of fatherhood. The preeminence of the father (which is part of the meaning of the name Abraham) comes from the still operative theory of procreation in which men transmit life by means of their "seed," an image that encapsulates the generative, creative power that symbolically allies men with God. The communities of faith argue interminably about who is the true seed of Abraham, who can claim the patrimony, but until now, no one has asked what is this seed. Kinship and origin myths, the cultural construction of fatherhood and motherhood, suspicions of actual child sacrifices in ancient times, and a revisiting of Freud's Oedipus complex all contribute to Delaney's remarkably rich discussion. She shows how the story of Abraham legitimates a hierarchical structure of authority, a specific form of family, definitions of gender, and the value of obedience that have become the bedrock of society. The question she leaves us with is whether we should perpetuate this story and the lessons it teaches.
Description : Sacrifice is part of many religions. While the actual ritual has often been abolished, the concept remains alive through stories, rituals, calendars and art. The essays in this book discuss the concept from various social, historical and intellectual contexts ranging from the pre-historical period till today.
Description : In 1830 philosopher Auguste Comte coined the term altruism to provide a general definition for the act of selflessly caring for others. But does this modern conception of sacrificing one's own interests for the well-being of others apply to the charitable behaviors encouraged by all world religions? In Altruism in World Religions prominent scholars from an array of religious perspectives probe the definition of altruism to determine whether it is a category that serves to advance the study of religion. Exploring a range of philosophical and religious thought from Greco-Roman philia to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, from Hinduism in India to Buddhism and the religions of China and Japan, the authors find that altruism becomes problematic when applied to religious studies because it is, in fact, a concept absent from religion. Chapters on Judaism, Christianity, and Islam reveal that followers of these religions cannot genuinely perform self-sacrificing acts because God has promised to reward every good deed. Moreover, the separation between the self and the other that self-sacrifice necessarily implies, runs counter to Buddhist thought, which makes no such distinction. By challenging our assumptions about the act of self-sacrifice as it relates to religious teachings, the authors have shown altruism to be more of a secular than religious notion. At the same time, their findings highlight how charitable acts operate with the values and structures of the religions studied.
Description : Sanctified Aggression allies itself neither with the easy assumption that religions are by definition violent (and that only the secular/humanist/humane can offer a place of refuge from the ravages of religious authority) nor with the equally facile opposing view that religion expresses the "best" of human aspirations and that this best is always capable of diffusing or sublating the worst. Rather, it works from the premise that biblical, Jewish and Christian vocabularies continue to resonate, inspire and misfire. Some of the essays here explore how these vocabularies and symbols have influenced, or resonate with, events such as the massacre of Jews in Jedwabne, Poland (1941), the Rwandan Massacre (1994), the tragedy at Columbine High School (1999) and the emergence of the "Phineas Priesthood" of white supremacists in North America. Other contributors examine how themes of martyrology, sacrifice and the messianic continue to circulate and mutate in literature, music, drama and film. The collective conclusion is that it is not possible to control biblical and religious violence by simply identifying canonical trouble-spots, then fencing them off with barbed wire or holding peace summits around them. Nor is it always possible to draw clear lines between problem and non-problem texts, witnesses and perpetrators, victims and aggressors or "reality" and "art".
Description : "When they arrived at the place which God had indicated to him, Abraham built an altar there, and arranged the wood. Then he bound his son and put him on the altar on top of the wood. Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to kill his son..." --The Book of Genesis The story of Abraham's acceptance of God's command to sacrifice his son Isaac is one of the most disturbing of all biblical stories. Isaac is spared only at the last moment, when an angel stops Abraham's hand. Theologians and scholars have wrestled with the question of why God asked Abraham to kill his beloved son, why Abraham acquiesced, and why in some interpretations he actually killed his son. In Abraham's Curse, Bruce Chilton traces the impact of the story of Abraham and Isaac on the beliefs and teachings of Judaism (where Abraham is regarded as the forefather of Israel), Islam (where he provides the role model for Muhammad), and Christianity (where he is the ancestor of King David, whose lineage culminates in Jesus). As Chilton examines the story's significance, he makes the case that, far from only reflecting the violence of an ancient, unenlightened time, the sacrifice of children in the name of religion is still a fundamental part of our lives and culture -- from Islamist suicide bombings to militant Zionism and graphic glorifications of the Crucifixion of Christ.
Description : How Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have reimagined Abraham in their own images Jews, Christians, and Muslims supposedly share a common religious heritage in the patriarch Abraham, and the idea that he should serve only as a source of unity among the three traditions has become widespread in both scholarly and popular circles. But in Inheriting Abraham, Jon Levenson reveals how the increasingly conventional notion of the three equally "Abrahamic" religions derives from a dangerous misunderstanding of key biblical and Qur'anic texts, fails to do full justice to any of the traditions, and is often biased against Judaism in subtle and pernicious ways.