sacrifice and the weaning of the primitive jew

Joseph at Roshpinaproject posted “The unbinding of Yeshua.”

I was struck by the contrast between the following explanation of the stories of sacrifice and something I had previously read. Here is the excerpt from the above article:

“Yet the reality is that all the stories of sacrifice, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Greek and Pagan, have their roots in Abraham, as recorded in the Akedah passage of Genesis 22, where God tells Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac.”

Here is a contrasting explanation from  Jewfaq:

Were sacrifices a symbol of the savior to come?
“Not according to Judaism. Quite the contrary, some would say that the original institution of sacrifice had more to do with the Judaism’s past than with its future. Rambam suggested that the entire sacrificial cult in Judaism was ordained as an accommodation of man’s primitive desires.
Sacrifice is an ancient and universal human expression of religion. Greeks and Romans and Canaanites and Egyptians all offered sacrifices to their gods. Sacrifice existed among the Hebrews long before the giving of the Torah. Cain and Abel offered sacrifices; Noah and his sons offered sacrifices, and so forth. When the laws of sacrifice were given to the Children of Israel in the Torah, the pre-existence of a system of sacrificial offering was understood, and sacrificial terminology was used without any explanation. The Torah, rather than creating the institution of sacrifice, carefully limited the practice, permitting it only in certain places, at certain times, in certain manners, by certain people, and for certain purposes. Rambam suggests that these limitations are designed to wean a primitive people away from the debased rites of their idolatrous neighbors.”

What I find strange about jewfaq’s  view is that I was under the impression that God had ordained the sacrifices (and all the other exacting ritual) IN ORDER TO SET HIS PEOPLE APART, in other words to make them holy. Or should we stick with the Rambam and believe that Moses (and the Saviour YHVH) were merely in the civilising business. Perhaps, the roots of the Jewish Enlightenment lie here – in the  rationalist rationalisations of Rambam.

Rambam is – arguably (I don’t want to land in deep Talmudic water) – talking through his far too civilised hat. For a far more reasonable view of the Jewish view of sacrifice see “Sacrifice and community: Jewish offering and Christian Eucharist” by Matthew Webb Levering

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