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Throughout Your Generations Forever

Sacrifice, Religion, and Paternity

Why does sacrifice, more than any other major religious institution, depend on gender dichotomy? Why do so many societies oppose sacrifice to childbirth, and why are childbearing women so commonly excluded from sacrificial practices? In this feminist study of relations between sacrifice, gender, and social organization, Nancy Jay reveals sacrifice as a remedy for having been born of woman, and hence uniquely suited to establishing certain and enduring paternity. Drawing on examples of ancient and modern societies, Jay synthesizes sociology of religion, ethnography, biblical scholarship, church history, and classics to argue that sacrifice legitimates and maintains patriarchal structures that transcend men’s dependence on women’s reproductive powers.

222 pages | 2 halftones, 4 line drawings, 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 1992

Gender and Sexuality

Religion: Comparative Studies and History of Religion, Religion and Society

Sociology: General Sociology

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

1. Social-Scientific Interpretation of Ritual
2. The Logic of Sacrifice
3. Sacrifice and Descent
4. Creating Descent through Fathers and Sons
5. Ashanti Sacrifice
6. Hawaiian Sacrifice
7. Sacrifice, Descent, and the Patriarchs
8. Sacrifice ans Social Structure in Christianity
9. Theories of Sacrifice
10. Conclusion
Appendix: Sacrificial Calendars


American Academy of Religion: American Academy of Religion Awards for Excellence

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