Main Humansacrifice Discussion

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LordGro
Topic
04:56:02 AM May 14th 2015
On the Biblical example of Jephtha and his daughter (Judges 11), Mythology and Religion folder. I have checked several translations, and I cannot find one that backs up the claim that Jephtha merely ordained his daughter to a life of celibacy. They all imply that he really did sacrifice her. I have therefore rolled back the example to what it was previously.

This was the example before my edit:
  • Often mistakenly thought to happen in the Book of Judges. The judge Jephthah promises to sacrifice as a burnt offering "whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites" (Judges 11:30, 31). However, the burnt offering actually refers to an animal burnt offering made when a human is devoted to the temple sanctuary. When Jephthah returns victoriously, the first to greet him is his teenage daughter. After granting her a reprieve of two months to mourn her virginity with her friends, "he did to her as he had vowed." His vowing her to the temple sanctuary included her remaining celibate for life (Judges 11:39) and was visited "from year to year" by Israelite women for the rest of her life (Judges 11:40).

This offers no explanation of why the text should speak of a burnt offering when it does not really mean a burnt offering. Plus it makes no sense for her to bewail for two months that she will stay a virgin for life. She would have more than enough time to do that for the rest of her life. Nor can she, being a virgin, get "reprieve" from staying a virgin for life (except maybe if she was indulging in sex during those two months, but that's hardly what the Bible intends). The two months of reprieve only make sense if it is herself that is going to be sacrificed.
shiro_okami
05:20:08 PM May 15th 2015
edited by shiro_okami
No, it doesn't. The reprieve is for her to mourn for two months until she is devoted to the temple sanctuary. The explanation was there all along. She would not be mourning her virginity after that because she would be doing her job as a Nazirite. Additionally, everywhere else in The Bible God condemns human sacrifice, so it doesn't make sense for it to be allowed here. Additionally, Judges 11:40 can imply that she lived out her life as a virgin depending on the translation (see commentary here). One translation reads, "From year to year, the young women of Israel would go to give commendation to the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year." (Italics mine.) They can't do that if she's dead. You can't just check translations, you have to dig deeper.

If you are really that skeptical, I can just include both interpretations.
LordGro
08:26:49 AM May 25th 2015
edited by LordGro
First up, please read Example Indentation and Conversation in the Main Page. The short version: You should never "reply" to an example as if you were posting in a forum. If something is wrong, it needs to be corrected or deleted; if something important is missing, it must be integrated into the example, not tacked on in a subbullet.

About the point of contention: Your post above is a repetition rather than an elucidation of the claims made in the example before I pulled it. I don't read Hebrew, Biblical or otherwise (I suspect you do neither), so I can only rely on translations and what they say is that Jephtha vowed
"whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering" (Judges 11:31).

There is no mention of devotion to service in the temple, but there is explicit promise of a burnt offering. As I understand you, you postulate that the (assumed) facts that the promise of a burnt offering does not extend to humans, and that a human offering is demoted to lifelong service to the temple "by default", is to be understood as a matter of course, and therefore, does not actually need to be said.

Problem is, do you have any evidence for the truth of this assumption? Because your remarks about alternative translations of 11:40 only point out possibilities. Even if it is possible that the intended meaning of 11:40 is "give commendation" or "talk with" etc., that still does not mean it is the intended meaning. The intended meaning could be "to mourn", "to commemorate", after all. It is not even true that a translation as "give commendation" must mean that J's daughter is alive, insofar as "give commendation" means "to praise", and you can praise a dead person too.

I've actually already "dug deeper" before I reverted the example. Hence I know there is no mention in the Bible that an institution of lifelong celibacy for service in the temple existed at all. You say J's daughter becomes a "Nazirite" (a word which, of course, does not occur in Judges 11), but a quick Wikipedia search informs me that Nazirites are required to abstain from wine, grapes, and anything intoxicating or made from grapes, from cutting their hair, and from coming near graves and corpses. That's it. No mention of celibacy. Which leads to the question why Jephtha's vow does not mention a life of celibacy when he meant it. Because it looks like the very idea would not have been a matter of course to his contemporaries.

All this adds up to the impression that the "life of celibacy" hypothesis is not backed up with sound arguments. It's just assumptions heaped on assumptions to get the desired result.

The dominant interpretation of this Bible passage has always been that Jephthah sacrificed his daughter, which is why we get illustrations such as this or adaptations as Handel's Jephtha, in which Jephtha intends to sacrifice his daughter (but is stopped by an angel). If you look at all the Bible commentaries on the very page you linked (also of Judges 11:31), not just the ones that support the interpretation you wish for, you will find that only a minority of them subscribe to the "not really a human sacrifice" interpretation.

We are not really concerned with the internal consistency or the historical truth of the Bible, but note that Jephtha sacrificing his daughter does not necessarily mean that God endorses this act. Jephtha's vow was his very own idea; God did not demand the vow, nor its fulfillment. Fact is that human sacrifice is not even an isolated occurrence in the Old Testament: Just check out 1 Kings 16:34, 2 Kings 16:3, 2 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 21:6, 2 Chronicles 28:3, 2 Chronicles 33:6. This is usually explained as the Israelites succumbing to the customs of their neighbors.
shiro_okami
08:21:42 PM May 27th 2015
edited by shiro_okami
Hence I know there is no mention in the Bible that an institution of lifelong celibacy for service in the temple existed at all.

While not specifically mentioned in regards to tabernacle/temple service (neither existed at that point in time), Numbers 30:3-5 does make mention of vows of abstinence.

We are not really concerned with the internal consistency or the historical truth of the Bible

Speak for yourself here, you obviously do not understand who you are talking to, nor where I am coming from. My position is that how an interpretation relates to internal consistency can strengthen or weaken an argument considerably, if not make or break it outright.

Of the list of verses you mention, the first does not refer to human sacrifice, and the rest all mention that the action was displeasing to God. While God does not demand the vow, God showing his support to Jephthah meant that he in fact did endorse the vow. If the end result of Jephthah's vow did in fact displease him, he would not have ensured Jephthah's victory. And God would not endorse a practice that was in direct violation of the Mosaic Law (under the position that The Bible is internally consistent, this is proof enough that Jephthah's daughter was not a human sacrifice). This chapter has a very different context than the verses you listed.

The dominant interpretation of this Bible passage

This is not a valid argument. Just because an interpretation is dominant does not make it correct. If anything, saying an interpretation is "dominant" will make me less likely to think it is correct if it is your primary argument.

Because your remarks about alternative translations of 11:40 only point out possibilities. Even if it is possible that the intended meaning of 11:40 is "give commendation" or "talk with" etc., that still does not mean it is the intended meaning. The intended meaning could be "to mourn", "to commemorate", after all.

The opposite is also possible, that the intended meaning is "give commendation" or "talk with", and the others are not. If there is no bias shown based on which interpretation is dominant or mainstream, than there is no reason to consider this one dubious or exclude it.
Morpheus6177
Topic
07:56:58 PM May 22nd 2011
In the 1985 Film: (Nudo e selvaggio Massacre in Dinosaur Valley; Cannibal Ferox 2), The Cannibal Natives get the two girls. Kevin then follows the captive women to the native village where native children torment them and the native woman strip down and ready the two woman in native womans clothing for sacrifice. A Summoned Native Shaman wearing a triceratops skull tears the flesh of Belinda, and as he turns to Eva, Kevin heaves a quickly-made bomb in their midst. He shoots a batch of natives and flees with the women. They take a canoe down the river and escape a net-trap. The natives stop pursuing when Kevin shoots the Native chief.
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