It has been customary since the middle ages to define sacrifice in terms of death. To sacrifice is to give something over to destruction. Roy Gane points out in his Cult and Character that this does not conform to the biblical usage. The bread of the presence is described as a "food-offering to Yahweh" (Leviticus 24:7), yet it was never destroyed but only consumed by the priests. It was a presentation offering before the Lord, and there was clearly no killing but also no destruction at all.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 07:14 AM
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