The role of human sacrifice in the ancient Mediterranean world and its implications continue to be topics that fire the popular imagination and engender scholarly discussion and controversy. This volume provides balanced and judicious treatments of the various facets of these topics from a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural perspective. It provides nuanced examinations of ancient ritual, exploring the various meanings that human sacrifice held for antiquity, and examines its varied repercussions up into the modern world.
The book explores evidence to shed new light on the origins of the rite, to whom these sacrifices were offered, and by whom they were performed. It presents fresh insights into the social and religious meanings of this practice in its varied biblical landscape and ancient contexts, and demonstrates how human sacrifice has captured the imagination of later writers who have employed it in diverse cultural and theological discourses to convey their own views and ideologies. It provides valuable perspectives for understanding key cultural, theological and ideological dimensions, such as the sacrifice of Christ, scapegoating, self-sacrifice and martyrdom in post-biblical and modern times.