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Author Topic: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice  (Read 1984 times)

EclecticWheel

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question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« on: October 13, 2014, 07:13:11 pm »
I read an article that said there aren't any traditional non-Abrahamic faiths in which priestesses offer blood sacrifice, but something didn't seem right about that to me.  It was written by a Christian who doesn't believe women should be priests (in Christianity).  Does anyone know of any examples of priestesses who offer blood sacrifice for the gods or for other reasons?  Thanks.
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carillion

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2014, 10:37:27 pm »
Quote from: EclecticWheel;162157
I read an article that said there aren't any traditional non-Abrahamic faiths in which priestesses offer blood sacrifice, but something didn't seem right about that to me.  It was written by a Christian who doesn't believe women should be priests (in Christianity).  Does anyone know of any examples of priestesses who offer blood sacrifice for the gods or for other reasons?  Thanks.



Define 'blood sacrifice'. Perhaps give it a context.

EclecticWheel

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2014, 11:42:00 pm »
Quote from: carillion;162164
Define 'blood sacrifice'. Perhaps give it a context.

 
I re-read the article to get a sense of how the author is defining "priest."  It's somewhat vague, but these are some excerpts:

The priest emerges out of primeval perceptions of blood as the substance of life, purity and righteousness. We are able to verify that this conception is very old because it has a wide linguistic dispersion.[4] The Hebrew root “thr” = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm (West Africa) “toro” = clean, and to the Tamil (India) “tiru” = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian (Pakistan) “tor” = blood. These cognates point to an ancient priesthood for which purity, holiness and blood are related concepts.

Second, we know that the priest functions to mitigate blood guilt. Anthropologists have noted that there is considerable anxiety about shed blood among primitive peoples.[7] Among the Afro-Asiatics, the priesthood served to relieve blood guilt and anxiety and to perform rites of purity. The priest addresses impurities by seeking purification through blood sacrifice. He also addresses anxiety about shed blood through blood sacrifice.

Third, we know that no woman served as a priest in any official capacity. Women didn’t enter the area of the altar where blood was offered in animal sacrifice. We know this because the Afro-Asiatics, from whom we received the priestly office, believed that the blood shed by men and women were never to mix or even be in the same place. Sacred law prohibited the blood shed in killing (male) and the blood shed in giving life (female) to share the same space.


So the article says there are no examples of priestesses among Afro-Asiatics.  I have no idea if that is true or not -- that's what I was asking about.

She goes on to say:

So called “priestesses” of ancient Greece were not priests at all. They were seers who pronounced oracles in a trace state, like shamans. Likewise, Shinto “priests” are also shamans as they deal with the spirits. Use of the term “priest” in both cases reveals ignorance about the different worldviews of priests and shamans [8], an ignorance (or bias?) that pervades 20th century academia.

As far as I can tell from the article a priest/priestess is associated with purity, holiness, mitigating blood guilt, and offers sacrifices (I'm assuming including blood but looking back on the altar I don't see that mentioned specifically).

Anyway, the article claims there are no priestesses amongst Afro-Asiatics.  I was just wondering if that is true or false, but the article doesn't really define the term "priest" all that clearly.
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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 12:07:40 am »
Quote from: EclecticWheel;162171
I re-read the article to get a sense of how the author is defining "priest."  It's somewhat vague, but these are some excerpts:

The priest emerges out of primeval perceptions of blood as the substance of life, purity and righteousness. We are able to verify that this conception is very old because it has a wide linguistic dispersion.[4] The Hebrew root “thr” = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm (West Africa) “toro” = clean, and to the Tamil (India) “tiru” = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian (Pakistan) “tor” = blood. These cognates point to an ancient priesthood for which purity, holiness and blood are related concepts.

Second, we know that the priest functions to mitigate blood guilt. Anthropologists have noted that there is considerable anxiety about shed blood among primitive peoples.[7] Among the Afro-Asiatics, the priesthood served to relieve blood guilt and anxiety and to perform rites of purity. The priest addresses impurities by seeking purification through blood sacrifice. He also addresses anxiety about shed blood through blood sacrifice.

Third, we know that no woman served as a priest in any official capacity. Women didn’t enter the area of the altar where blood was offered in animal sacrifice. We know this because the Afro-Asiatics, from whom we received the priestly office, believed that the blood shed by men and women were never to mix or even be in the same place. Sacred law prohibited the blood shed in killing (male) and the blood shed in giving life (female) to share the same space.


So the article says there are no examples of priestesses among Afro-Asiatics.  I have no idea if that is true or not -- that's what I was asking about.

She goes on to say:

So called “priestesses” of ancient Greece were not priests at all. They were seers who pronounced oracles in a trace state, like shamans. Likewise, Shinto “priests” are also shamans as they deal with the spirits. Use of the term “priest” in both cases reveals ignorance about the different worldviews of priests and shamans [8], an ignorance (or bias?) that pervades 20th century academia.

As far as I can tell from the article a priest/priestess is associated with purity, holiness, mitigating blood guilt, and offers sacrifices (I'm assuming including blood but looking back on the altar I don't see that mentioned specifically).

Anyway, the article claims there are no priestesses amongst Afro-Asiatics.  I was just wondering if that is true or false, but the article doesn't really define the term "priest" all that clearly.

 
It seems like semantic hooey to me, honestly, on a sort of "no true Scotsman" level.
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carillion

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 12:24:36 am »
Quote from: EclecticWheel;162171
I re-read the article to get a sense of how the author is defining "priest."  It's somewhat vague, but these are some excerpts:

The priest emerges out of primeval perceptions of blood as the substance of life, purity and righteousness. We are able to verify that this conception is very old because it has a wide linguistic dispersion.[4] The Hebrew root “thr” = to be pure, corresponds to the Hausa/Hahm (West Africa) “toro” = clean, and to the Tamil (India) “tiru” = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian (Pakistan) “tor” = blood. These cognates point to an ancient priesthood for which purity, holiness and blood are related concepts.

Second, we know that the priest functions to mitigate blood guilt. Anthropologists have noted that there is considerable anxiety about shed blood among primitive peoples.[7] Among the Afro-Asiatics, the priesthood served to relieve blood guilt and anxiety and to perform rites of purity. The priest addresses impurities by seeking purification through blood sacrifice. He also addresses anxiety about shed blood through blood sacrifice.

Third, we know that no woman served as a priest in any official capacity. Women didn’t enter the area of the altar where blood was offered in animal sacrifice. We know this because the Afro-Asiatics, from whom we received the priestly office, believed that the blood shed by men and women were never to mix or even be in the same place. Sacred law prohibited the blood shed in killing (male) and the blood shed in giving life (female) to share the same space.


So the article says there are no examples of priestesses among Afro-Asiatics.  I have no idea if that is true or not -- that's what I was asking about.

She goes on to say:

So called “priestesses” of ancient Greece were not priests at all. They were seers who pronounced oracles in a trace state, like shamans. Likewise, Shinto “priests” are also shamans as they deal with the spirits. Use of the term “priest” in both cases reveals ignorance about the different worldviews of priests and shamans [8], an ignorance (or bias?) that pervades 20th century academia.

As far as I can tell from the article a priest/priestess is associated with purity, holiness, mitigating blood guilt, and offers sacrifices (I'm assuming including blood but looking back on the altar I don't see that mentioned specifically).

Anyway, the article claims there are no priestesses amongst Afro-Asiatics.  I was just wondering if that is true or false, but the article doesn't really define the term "priest" all that clearly.


It would help if you cited the article. The references can't be checked this way. All I can say is there are some *huge* leaps in linguistics, assumed orothopraxic connections and geography. 'Afro Asiatics' refers to a * language group*, not a cultural/racial identity or a geographical location per se.

Where is this sacrifice taking place, who is doing it, why are they doing it and so forth. I can not make head nor tails from this excerpt.

carillion

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 12:36:29 am »
Quote from: carillion;162175
It would help if you cited the article. The references can't be checked this way. All I can say is there are some *huge* leaps in linguistics, assumed orothopraxic connections and geography. 'Afro Asiatics' refers to a * language group*, not a cultural/racial identity or a geographical location per se.

Where is this sacrifice taking place, who is doing it, why are they doing it and so forth. I can not make head nor tails from this excerpt.


Found it: http://omaxi.tigblog.org/post/4362029

EclecticWheel

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 12:42:09 am »
Quote from: carillion;162178
Found it: http://omaxi.tigblog.org/post/4362029

 
That's it.  I forgot to include it in my last post.
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carillion

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 03:25:12 am »
Quote from: EclecticWheel;162179
That's it.  I forgot to include it in my last post.

She left her particular type of church for a more orthodox one as she disagreed with women being ordained (she also has a problem with gay people and considers gay men as not 'masculine' whatever that means). She's not interested in pre-christian beliefs except in so far as they support her rather odd contentions that men's and women's blood are different and how that relates to the concept of blood in *christianity*.

So I wouldn't take her work as a jumping off place for anything to do with other-than-christian doctrinal considerations.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2014, 03:25:42 am by carillion »

EclecticWheel

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2014, 09:56:52 am »
Quote from: carillion;162183
She left her particular type of church for a more orthodox one as she disagreed with women being ordained (she also has a problem with gay people and considers gay men as not 'masculine' whatever that means). She's not interested in pre-christian beliefs except in so far as they support her rather odd contentions that men's and women's blood are different and how that relates to the concept of blood in *christianity*.

So I wouldn't take her work as a jumping off place for anything to do with other-than-christian doctrinal considerations.


I'm not sure it is great even for that, I just wondered if there were priestesses in other religions who shed blood but I'm not sure the article clearly defines priest anyway.
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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2014, 11:52:59 am »
Quote from: EclecticWheel;162203
I'm not sure it is great even for that, I just wondered if there were priestesses in other religions who shed blood but I'm not sure the article clearly defines priest anyway.

 
In the entire world?  I'm sure there were some.

There's far more we do NOT know than we do about these things, unless they were well documented.  I've no idea if priestesses led any of the animal sacrifices in Greece, f'ex, though it wouldn't surprise me if they did.

OTOH, if the ONLY role of "priest" is "mitigate blood guilt", that's a different animal entirely than "priest" as "mediator with deities", which is a far more normal understanding of the word.  sooooo .. did women ever mitigate blood guilt?  fuck if I know.

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2014, 12:53:40 pm »
Quote from: EclecticWheel;162171
Second, we know that the priest functions to mitigate blood guilt.


... for those cultures which have "blood guilt" as a concept at all.


Quote
Third, we know that no woman served as a priest in any official capacity. Women didn’t enter the area of the altar where blood was offered in animal sacrifice.


In ancient Egypt, ritual slaughter was carried out well away from the offering altars, for the same reason that you don't kill a cow on your dining room table even if you're having steak for dinner.  It gets the linens so messy.

Quote
Sacred law prohibited the blood shed in killing (male) and the blood shed in giving life (female) to share the same space.


... for those cultures who categorised the concepts that way.

Quote
So the article says there are no examples of priestesses among Afro-Asiatics.  I have no idea if that is true or not -- that's what I was asking about.


Egypt had women with the title "servant of god".  Egypt had men with the title "servant of god".  Only differing in spelling because the language was gender-inflected.  These people are generally referred to in English as "priests", because they do the priest work of serving in the house of the god.  Which is, y'know, a fairly common sense of what a priest is for, overall.  Certainly much more so than the... bafflegab you're reading.
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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2014, 04:35:38 pm »
Quote from: EclecticWheel;162203
I'm not sure it is great even for that, I just wondered if there were priestesses in other religions who shed blood but I'm not sure the article clearly defines priest anyway.

 
I don't think she clearly defines what she's talking about either.  It seems like a really round about bizarre way to justify women not being priests.  I (being raised Roman Catholic) was always taught that women could not be priests because the priest is a stand in for Jesus (I'm pretty sure there's a Latin term for it, but I can't remember it at the moment) especially during Mass and the Consecration.  Now, I don't necessarily agree with that (and it doesn't really hold up for Protestant sects) but I can at least see the logic in it.  It seems weird to use non-Christian faiths to justify a Christian doctrine.

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2014, 05:04:07 pm »
Quote from: NightQueen;162252
I don't think she clearly defines what she's talking about either.  It seems like a really round about bizarre way to justify women not being priests.  I (being raised Roman Catholic) was always taught that women could not be priests because the priest is a stand in for Jesus (I'm pretty sure there's a Latin term for it, but I can't remember it at the moment) especially during Mass and the Consecration.  Now, I don't necessarily agree with that (and it doesn't really hold up for Protestant sects) but I can at least see the logic in it.  It seems weird to use non-Christian faiths to justify a Christian doctrine.

 
Man, I wish I knew how to find some of Koi's lectures about portrayals of Jesus as having breasts, which was apparently the Done Thing in at least some portions of Christianity for a while because the Incarnation wasn't supposed to be about gender....
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Valentine

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2014, 11:31:13 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;162261
Man, I wish I knew how to find some of Koi's lectures about portrayals of Jesus as having breasts, which was apparently the Done Thing in at least some portions of Christianity for a while because the Incarnation wasn't supposed to be about gender....

 
There's also a really fun theological line that holds that, given that

1. A person's physical body is produced by the bodies of both parents, some of the father's fleshy substance, some of the mother's
and
2. Jesus has a physical mother, but his father was God
and
3. God has no physical body,
therefore
4. Jesus' body is comprised only of the substance of his mother's body with no contributing male flesh involved
and therefore
5. Jesus' body is in substance a female body even if in shape it is male, and to say otherwise is either to deny that God is his father or to suggest that God is limited and corporeal which is awfully pagan, isn't it, and we don't want that, now do we.
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NightQueen

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Re: question about priestesses & blood sacrifice
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2014, 01:04:47 am »
Quote from: Darkhawk;162261
Man, I wish I knew how to find some of Koi's lectures about portrayals of Jesus as having breasts, which was apparently the Done Thing in at least some portions of Christianity for a while because the Incarnation wasn't supposed to be about gender....
Interesting, I did not know that.

In any case, this woman was talking about the Episcopalian church so the concept of In persona Christi (I knew there was a Latin term) wouldn't apply since they're Protestant and don't believe in transubstantiation (the bread and wine becoming the actual body and blood of Jesus). Which seems to me, to mean they are not presiding over a "blood sacrifice" anyway. So, I suppose her issue should be that Episcopalians call they're clergy preists, not that they allow women since by her own admission women could be church leaders.

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