Knjižnica Filozofskog fakulteta
Sveučilišta u Zagrebu
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Institutional Repository

Relation Between Sacrifice and Mercy in Forms of Worship and Pacification


Downloads per month over past year

Kovačević, Matija. (2013). Relation Between Sacrifice and Mercy in Forms of Worship and Pacification. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology. [mentor Vinšćak, Tomo].

PDF (Croatian)
Download (1MB) | Preview


Sacrifice is one of the most widely spread notions across the world's cultures. It is present in secular and religious language, in everyday and extraordinary circumstances, in private and public sphere. In concurrence with it, some form of sacrificial ritual has found its way into practically every culture and tradition. Though diminished and modified in form, they have not disappeared from humanity even today, while in past they have constituted an ordinary part of everyday life. The purposes of sacrificial rituals were various, but one of the most common motives which permeated them was reconciliation with the deity, together with avoidance of penalty and ensuring life and security for the individual and/or the world. On the other hand, the notion of grace and mercy is not so common. Doctrinally, it appears (with often significant differences in meaning) only in major world religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, but it is possible also to discern its occurrence in those sacrificial rituals which by their forms and narratives imply lesser contribution on the part of man, and greater contribution on the part of deity in the pacification processes. The goal of this thesis is to study what are the relations between the notions of sacrifice and mercy in public and private worship; how does a worshipper understand the meaning and relation between those two notions; and on which one of them does he or she rely more when approaching the deity and seeking reconciliation to the same. For this purpose, several examples from various cultures have been compared: Babylonian penance, sacrificial worship of Heaven in China, Israelite Sanctuary, Roman pax deorum, Aztec human sacrifice in comparison with Incan conceptions and practices, and the case of ceremonial massacre of the religious dissenters in 16th century Paris. Using suitable qualitative methods (Alasuutari), comparative analytical method and textual analysis, along with applying theories of symbolic and interpretive anthropology (Geertz), hermeneutics (Ricoeur), reflexive ethnography (Davies) and cognitive anthropology (Strauss & Quinn), the thesis shows – on the basis of available historical, ethnographic and religious documents – the relation between those two notions in the religious understandings and acts of man. Where possible, a concise analysis of the social implications of these beliefs is provided, answering the question: how does the particular understanding of relation between sacrifice and mercy motivates social behavior

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: sacrifice, mercy, pacification, worship, ritual
Subjects: Ethnology and cultural anthropology
Departments: Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology
Supervisor: Vinšćak, Tomo
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2018 10:24
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2018 10:24

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item