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Magical Men, Magical Women; don't forget to come rescue us!

To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Magical Men, Magical Women; don't forget to come rescue us!
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 22:22:49 GMT

mika wrote:

> I take that aspect of Jesus' story as a continuation of the story of
> Abraham.  God instructed Abraham to sacrifice a goat instead of his
> son, which was the first 'religious evolution', from human sacrifice
> to animal sacrifice.  Then, with Jesus is the next stage of religious
> evolution, from animal sacrifice to purely symbolic sacrifice (wine).

Abraham found a lamb, not a goat kid. But more importantly,
within the Jewish religion, the sacrifice made by Abraham
was NOT "the first 'religious evolution', from human
sacrifice to animal sacrifice." 

There is no record of human sacrifice being offered to YHVH
among the early Jews at all. In fact, Jewish scripture
expresses HORROR at the idea that human sacrifices were
offered to other Middle Eastern gods. This is not to say
that the forebears of the Jews Might not have practiced
human sacrifice in prehistoric times, as some other
Neolithic cultures did, but with no evidence in Jewish
scripture that Jews, as Jews, did so, there is no reason to
use their scriptures to account for a dubious social
"evolutionary" theory that requires "'religious evolution',
from human sacrifice to animal sacrifice." 

Whether you accept as factual the chronology of Jewish
history as detailed in Jewish scripture or merely take that
chronology as an expression of Jewish beliefs about Jewish
history, you will see that Jews have a record of and/or a
self concept of themselves as a culture that practiced
animal sacrifice LONG before the days of Abraham. 

See Cain and Abel in the Book of Genesis. 

Abel sacrificed animals (lambs, burnt offerings) and Cain
sacrificed vegetables and fruits and grain. The god YHVH
chose the animal sacrifice, favouring Abel. This symbolizes
an implied cultural decision and/or an explanation for the
fact that the Jews were shepherds. They presumed that their
god YHVH favoured the sacrifices made by nomadic shepherding
people over those made by sedentary farming people. 

Cain the farmer, was, by the way, so angry that YHVH
rejected his vegetable sacrifices that he killed his brother
Abel, the shepherd. By identifying with the righteous victim
of this injustice, the Jews presented in strong terms their
choice of herding as a lifestyle. 

Then, further down the time stream, along came the shepherd
Abraham -- and YHVH told him to sacrifice his son! This was
entirely unexpected and rude of YHVH! He had been happily
accepting lambs and kids as sacrifices and now he wanted a
human boy! 

Bob Dylan (a Jew with a sense of humour) well expressed the
shock and outrage that this untoward demand on YHVH's part
has on the minds of Jews, in the song "Highway 61 Revisited":

   God said to Abraham, "Kill Me a son."
   Abe said, "Man, you must be putting me on."
   God said, "No." Abe said, "What?"
   God said, "You can do anything you want to, but...
   The next time you see me comin', you better run."
   Abe said, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
   And God said, "Down on Highway 61." 

(The reference to Highway 61, for non USA residents, is to a
stretch of road in rural Mississippi. The title of this mid
1960s song is "Highway 61 *Revisited*" because there is a
famous old blues song of the 1920s called "61 Highway"
a.k.a. "Highway 61 Blues." During the 1960s civil rights
movement, in which Bob Dylan participated, there was a voter
registration drive in Mississippi and local Anglo Americans
murdered a number of African American leaders and their
Jewish supporters in that region. Dylan is analogizing the
martyrdom of the slain Jewish and African American civil
rights workers to a religious sacrifice ordained by God.
This was before Dylan converted temporarily to Christianity,
back when most of his religious allegories were Jewish.) 

In the original Biblical story, of course, it turns out that
YHVH was only testing Abraham's loyalty. The boy, Isaac, was
not killed because at the last moment, YHVH provided a lamb
for the sacrifice. YHVH continued his practice of accepting
lambs and kids as his preferred sacrifices. 

When the Jews were enslaved in Egypt and could not herd
sheep and live nomadically, many of them turned to worship
of local Egyptian deities. JHVH promised to grant them
freedom, but as a down payment on this freedom, he asked
each family to sacrifice a lamb, to mark their doorways with
the blood, and to hold a feast indoors after their old
nomadic customs while his angels killed the firstborn
children of the Egyptians and passed over the homes of the
faithful Jews. This was another test of faith -- and the
Jews demonstrated their loyalty to YHVH, earned their
freedom, and celebrate the event each year with the Passover
(Pesach) festival, in which a leg of lamb is eaten in the

When the Jews escaped from Egypt, where did they go? Back
into "the wilderness," resuming their erstwhile nomadic
herding life and living in tents for another 40 years.
Eventually they did settle down in towns (by conquering
them) but as long as they remained a tribal culture, they
always sacrificed lambs and kids as if they were still
desert nomads and they always wrestled with the concept of
the test of loyalty and faith. 

In part, the importance of the test of loyalty and faith in
Judaism is based in the fact that the Jews have no belief in
reincarnation and very scant belief in an afterlife. Thus
the workings of justice on Earth are of great importance in
Jewish theology and there is a continual questioning of why,
if, or how one should remain loyal and faithful to a deity
who may not reward one or whose blessings may be fickle. 

The testing of Abraham's loyalty and faith is paralleled
elsewhere in the Jewish scriptures in the Book of Job, whose
faith is tested by YHVH and his helper Satan. They arrange
for a series of tragedies to befall Job to see if he will
keep worshipping YHVH. He does, thus also passing the test
of faith. 

Neither the Jewish idea of animal sacrifice nor the Jewish
emphasis on the testing of loyalty and faith were developed
with reference to later Christian religious concepts of
sacrifice, and most especially they are not "evolutionarily"
connected to Christian concepts which were formed by
borrowing elements of Jewish religious scripture in support
of a new form of worship to a new deity. 

In fact, the breakdown of the Christian borrowing process
from a strictly literary standpoint is quite evident when
one compares the Christian story of the crucifixion of Jesus
with the Jewish accounts of the testing of faith that occur
in the stories of Abraham, the Passover, and Job. 

In all the Jewish stories, the persons being tested are
granted an extension of mortal life and renewed happiness on
Earth as a reward for demonstrating faithful loyalty to
YHVH. Jesus, on the other hand, fails the test of faith,
crying out, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and then he
dies ignobly. He is not faithful to JHVH and thus he is not
rewarded with a happy life on Earth.

The Christian authors explain away Jesus' failing the test
of faith by recasting the story as a fable of HUMAN
SACRIFICE -- even going so far as to call Jesus "The Lamb"
as if he were incubated in Mary's womb simply to be fattened
and eaten by YHVH. This is kind of a gross idea to people
who raised sheep and then sacrificed lambs to their god,
reserving the blood for the deity and eating the flesh
themselves, after the manner of most tribal cultures'
sacrificial customs. The idea of human sacrifice to JHVH 
certainly does not recommend Christianity to most Jews, i
can tell you from experience. 

cat yronwode 

Freemasonry for Women -------

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