Kathryn McClymond

Beyond Sacred Violence

This award-winning study presents “a thought-provoking examination of sacrifice” that significantly extends our understanding of the practice (James Getz, Journal of Religion).
For many Westerners, the term sacrifice suggests ancient and primitive ritual practices. It conjures the notion of slaying an animal victim, usually with the aim of atoning for human guilt. In Beyond Sacred Violence, Kathryn McClymond argues that this reductive understanding of sacrifice overlooks an enormously broad and dynamic cluster of religious activities.
Drawing on a comparative study of Vedic and Jewish sacrificial practices, McClymond demonstrates that sacrifice has no single, essential, identifying characteristic. She also shows that the elements most frequently attributed to such acts—death and violence—are not universal. In fact, the world of religious sacrifice varies greatly, including grain-based offerings, precious liquids, and complex interdependent activities.
Winner, 2009 Georgia Author of the Year Award for Creative Nonfiction
348 printed pages
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