Trying to understand a vile practice


Most people today would consider human sacrifice a kind of ritual murder. We see it as morally ugly.

There is quite a bit of evidence that it was, shockingly, practiced by a wide range of ancient cultures.

Modern scholars tend to be cautious about evidence of human sacrifice. It is such a horrifying and nightmarish practice that it tends to grip the imagination. I read a novel not long ago that vividly described human sacrifice by the Minoans in ancient Crete. However, the evidence that the Minoans practiced human sacrifice is slight. Some of the evidence on Crete may tell us about the practice of some other people who settled in Crete after the Minoans.

One reason for the caution is that allegations of human sacrifice can be weaponized and used as an excuse to vilify or even kill people. Cortez used the reality of Aztec human sacrifice as an…

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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