|In order to understand what exactly is being criticized and why, we need to recognize our own distance in time, in mentality, civilization and religion from the original context.
|This slide and
the division of religious development into individual stages (epochs) is
at least partly inspired by ideas of the German Egyptologist and
anthropologist Jan Assmann. He rejected the simplistic binary
enlightenment terminology of polytheism / monotheism and suggested a
more intriguing and complex model of religious development. Plurality of
gods in polytheism as well as singularity of the divine in monotheism
is only the tip of the iceberg. True religious distinction is
built upon different concepts of god/s and their relationship to, and
functioning in, the world. I wrote more about it in the last paragraph
of this lecture about polytheism.
This table attempts to divide the development of religion into individual stages, based on how deities were perceived (in relationship to the world) and what impact this kind of religion had on the concept of sacrifices. These stages have never existed in pure form; individual stages overlap even within one culture and society. Current western religiosity is fast moving towards the post-theistic religiosity which I would characterize as predominantly panentheistic and ecologically centered. Yet at the same time in one city even on the same street you can find a new-paradigm-seeking protestant church, a mosque representing transcendental monotheism par excellence (If you want to see a pure monotheism, Sunni Islam is a good example), and supranatural voodoo/santeria religiosity (clear example of polytheistic-monotheistic continuum and blood sacrifices with magical overtones).
|The textual fixation of sacrifices, written instructions and detailed prescriptions for sacrifices are a sign of the disappearing and dying out of sacrificial cult.