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On Sacrifice$
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Moshe Halbertal

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152851

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152851.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
On Sacrifice

Moshe Halbertal

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter distinguishes between the first two senses of sacrifice: “sacrificing to” and “sacrificing for.” Each use leads to a different field of inquiry. “Sacrificing to” engages such questions as ritual, substitution, and atonement. The study of sacrifice through this lens has received intense attention from different fields of investigation: the sociology of religion, psychoanalysis, anthropology, evolutionary biology, comparative religion, and cultural studies. Meanwhile, “sacrificing for” involves the political and moral spheres. Self-sacrifice for another individual, value, or collective seems key to much of ethical life and political organization. Focusing on “sacrificing for” leads to analyzing the role of sacrifice in war and the function of the state as a sacrificial bond.

Keywords:   sacrifice, religion, psychoanalysis, evolutionary biology, self-sacrifice, moral sphere, war

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