Human sacrifice and the death penalty

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Tue Apr 28 15:34:49 EDT 1998


Pardon me for sending this twice, but I forgot to put a title on it the first
time.

J. R. Gardner said:

"As to the topic at hand re. sacrifice: perhaps the executions are not
sacrifices as Lars notes.  HOwever, it cannot be denied that they are
infinitely ritualized--with all attendant praayazcitti rites of debatable
efficacy--and certainly sanitized."

I don't think that modernist sanitization of executions is effected by
ritualization (I'm not asserting that JRG was saying they were, but the
words could accept that interpretation).  When executions were public and
very un-sanitized they were yet more ritualistic.  Some social historian (was
it Aries? Foucault?) remarked that the ancien regime execution in Europe
was a theatrical ritual of which both the principal performer and even the
stage manager was the condemned.  Anyway, pretty much all significant
social acts are to some degree ritualized even in modern society.

Allen Thrasher



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