Is Jesus just another typical example of an iron-age human sacrifice?  Modern humans find the idea of human sacrifice is barbaric and unthinkable, but religious human sacrifice was very normal...

Is Jesus just another typical example of an iron-age human sacrifice?

 

Modern humans find the idea of human sacrifice is barbaric and unthinkable, but religious human sacrifice was very normal 2000 years ago. These primitive desert people believed God liked sacrifices; goats, sheep, cows and so on. Killing animals was a gift to God. It pleased him. It says that God liked animal slaughter in the Old Testament... many many times in fact.

Historically however, at that time, the most generous sacrifice was a human sacrifice. A human sacrifice was the most you could sacrifice to god. For example, God told Abraham TO KILL HIS SON as a human sacrifice. It was normal in those days. Many other definite historical examples confirm that Human sacrifice was abundant at that time. It was a normal dedication in times of crisis.

Taken in this historical context, does the biblical story that Jesus died to redeem all the sins of mankind, represent a genuine human sacrifice to the God of Israel?

Asked on by elfgirl

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larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Actually, human sacrifice was more common than one might think; although it was not practiced by the Jews. The Phoenicians regularly sacrificed infants to their god Moloch, and the Roman Gladiatorial games began as slave fights in which it was anticipated that one would die. The idea of Jesus becoming a sacrifice was that he was the ultimate sacrifice. He could pay the price of sin which an animal, by its sacrifice, could not do. His crucifixion is perhaps symbolic, but it does indicate payment of the price for sin, and was in a form that the Jews did not practice, but with which they certainly would have been familiar.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I'm not sure I agree with your main premise, which is that human sacrifice was common at the time that Jesus was living.  The story of Isaac and Abraham is from quite a long time before Jesus.  It is true that Jews believed that God wanted animal sacrifices, but it's a huge step to say that God wanted animal sacrifices and therefore he wanted human sacrifices.  It's like saying that we people today would eat people because we'll eat animals.

As far as whether Jesus was a genuine human sacrifice, I'm not clear on what you mean by "genuine."  Christians do believe Jesus sacrificed himself to save us.  And they do believe Jesus was fully human, so in that sense he was a human sacrifice.

So... I'm not really sure what you're asking.  It's not controversial to say that Jesus is seen as a human sacrifice.  But it's not really that accurate to say that human sacrifice was common 2000 years ago.

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