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Ritual Infant Sacrifice in Judaism?

ignatius

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A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
 

genesisone

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ignatius said:
A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
What evidence has your friend produced? The onus is on him. To me, the practice would sound like "geno-suicide" (or whatever the word is  :) ).
 

ignatius

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genesisone said:
ignatius said:
A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
What evidence has your friend produced? The onus is on him. To me, the practice would sound like "geno-suicide" (or whatever the word is  :) ).
He posted this on Facebook and, as you know, unless you call someone on what they say, the masses assume it's valid. I know that isn't fair but it's the way of the world now.
 

Schultz

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What's he going to say next, that the Jews of Europe in the Middle Ages stole infants in the night so they could drink their blood?

Utter crap.
 

ignatius

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Schultz said:
What's he going to say next, that the Jews of Europe in the Middle Ages stole infants in the night so they could drink their blood?

Utter crap.
So there is no evidence of Jews Ritually Sacrificing Children? He does this kind of thing 'all the time'... since falling away from Orthodoxy, he's become very anti-religion.
 

genesisone

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ignatius said:
genesisone said:
ignatius said:
A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
What evidence has your friend produced? The onus is on him. To me, the practice would sound like "geno-suicide" (or whatever the word is  :) ).
He posted this on Facebook and, as you know, unless you call someone on what they say, the masses assume it's valid. I know that isn't fair but it's the way of the world now.
Wow! Facebook as an authority! I'm impressed! (just don't ask what I'm impressed with :D !)
So, have you called him on what he has said?
 

ignatius

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genesisone said:
ignatius said:
genesisone said:
ignatius said:
A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
What evidence has your friend produced? The onus is on him. To me, the practice would sound like "geno-suicide" (or whatever the word is  :) ).

He posted this on Facebook and, as you know, unless you call someone on what they say, the masses assume it's valid. I know that isn't fair but it's the way of the world now.
Wow! Facebook as an authority! I'm impressed! (just don't ask what I'm impressed with :D !)
So, have you called him on what he has said?

No, he tends to have enough evidence, false or otherwise, when he makes these claims so I wanted to check first to see what you guys and gals thought.
 

Schultz

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The more I think about it, the more he may be correct in an etymological/anthropological sense.  Abraham was prepared to offer his first born son Isaac as a human sacrifice to God.  However, it must be remembered and stressed that God then told Abraham that such a human sacrifice was not necessary and accepted a ram in place of Isaac.  So while the linguistic phrase "dedicated the firstborn to the Lord" may have such undertones, when placed in a decidedly Jewish context, that dedication no longer meant human sacrifice.

It's still a pretty intentionally controversial thing to say w/o offering up evidence and context, though.
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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ignatius said:
A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
Real evidence?  Nope; there's a lot of racist ideologies that promulgate this kind of nonsense though.  I reckon Goebbels' Big Lie technique is alive and well today as it ever was.  If your friend really believes this, you might not have much luck with changing their mind, but I'd still ask them to verify how they know this 'fact'.  
 

ignatius

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Schultz said:
The more I think about it, the more he may be correct in an etymological/anthropological sense.  Abraham was prepared to offer his first born son Isaac as a human sacrifice to God.  However, it must be remembered and stressed that God then told Abraham that such a human sacrifice was not necessary and accepted a ram in place of Isaac.  So while the linguistic phrase "dedicated the firstborn to the Lord" may have such undertones, when placed in a decidedly Jewish context, that dedication no longer meant human sacrifice.

It's still a pretty intentionally controversial thing to say w/o offering up evidence and context, though.
I understand that in those times, such sacrifices would have been known to Abraham... but Abraham is the Father of the Faithful. He didn't sacrifice Isaac but a ram... could this be the end of such practices?
 

Schultz

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ignatius said:
Schultz said:
The more I think about it, the more he may be correct in an etymological/anthropological sense.  Abraham was prepared to offer his first born son Isaac as a human sacrifice to God.  However, it must be remembered and stressed that God then told Abraham that such a human sacrifice was not necessary and accepted a ram in place of Isaac.  So while the linguistic phrase "dedicated the firstborn to the Lord" may have such undertones, when placed in a decidedly Jewish context, that dedication no longer meant human sacrifice.

It's still a pretty intentionally controversial thing to say w/o offering up evidence and context, though.
I understand that in those times, such sacrifices would have been known to Abraham... but Abraham is the Father of the Faithful. He didn't sacrifice Isaac but a ram... could this be the end of such practices?
That's what I was getting at.  The ancestral language of Hebrew that Abraham spoke was most likely replete with such references, but since Abraham's God refused such human sacrifice and accepted the ram instead, the phrase took on a whole new meaning within the monotheistic context that Abraham founded.  Much like how Christians baptised all sorts of pagan practices and linguistic idioms, so did Abraham, in a way.
 

Marc1152

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ignatius said:
A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
This is a very old Anti-Semetic myth.
 

88Devin12

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I figured he was referencing Abraham's near sacrifice of Isaac... The outrageous claims of some amaze me sometimes...
 

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Exodus 13:2 "Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal."

Exodus 22:29, "You must give me the firstborn of your sons."

Exodus 34:19-20, "The first offspring of every womb belongs to me, including all the firstborn males of your livestock, whether from herd or flock. Redeem the firstborn donkey with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem all your firstborn sons."

Numbers 3:12-13, "I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the LORD."

Numbers 3:41 "Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the LORD."

Numbers 1:50-51 "Appoint the Levites to be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony—over all its furnishings and everything belonging to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they are to take care of it and encamp around it. Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall do it."
The Lord claims the firstborn of Israel because He spared them from the final plague in Egypt.  But He later permits these firstborn to be redeemed.  Instead, He claims the Levite tribe in place of the firstborn of the other tribes.  The Levites are the roadies of Tabernacle worship.

Whatever "dedication" meant to the Canaanites -- and it may very well have involved human sacrifice, since Abraham was not shocked by God's order that he sacrifice Isaac  -- the Mosaic law transforms that practice into another that emphasizes the sacrifice of labor.
 

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ignatius said:
A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
I know I've read various scholars books and articles suggesting pretty strongly that the dedication to the Lord of the first born was in fact an "anti" child sacrifice practice. In the sense that in some other religions people brought their children to a temple handed them over to the priests, and then...well obviously they never got them back. This practice is believed to be a sort of politically subversive act  to tell those nations that did practice child sacrifice, they had it wrong, where the first born was handed over to the priests, and then handed back to the parents still alive. For the life of me I cannot recall where I read this, but I'm sure in was a pretty famous scholar of ancient Judaism, (or foot noted in a book about ancient Judaism?)....As I think about it the only book that I can think of by title that it could have been was a book titled, something along the lines of "A Study of Israel's Second God".....or something to that affect. There are relatively few scholars of ancient Hebrew religion as it's a really specialized field....

I do know many scholars have said the Abraham story was again a subversive story declaring child/human sacrifice as immoral/sin etc which was kind of ground breaking in the land of Canaan. So I think you're friend is on to "something" though he's got his facts/history twisted backwards and in various directions.  I'd ask him to list his sources, names of books, or a scholar and then look that source up to see if it's legitimate or just some nut with no qualifications at all.

 

Alveus Lacuna

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I've worked for a professor now for a couple of years who absolutely hates all religion with a passion, and teaches a class designed to systematically destroy peoples' confidence in the Bible, and I have never heard him suggest this.  That in itself should tell you that its not true!  :D
 

Al Lipscomb

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"You shall not give any of your children to devote them by fire to Moloch, and so profane the name of your God” (Lev. 18:21)


While some disobeyed God, the law forbade child sacrifice. There is little point in arguing the facts with your friend. Their position was not reached from digging into the truth and facts will not matter.
 
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Alveus Lacuna said:
I've worked for a professor now for a couple of years who absolutely hates all religion with a passion, and teaches a class designed to systematically destroy peoples' confidence in the Bible, and I have never heard him suggest this.  That in itself should tell you that its not true!  :D
Argument from silence fallacy.

As for the OP, I doubt that the Jews ever practiced such a thing (except as a violation of their own law). The reason Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah is because they consider it blasphemous not only for God to have a Son but to sacrifice that Son.
 

rakovsky

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Schultz said:
The more I think about it, the more he may be correct in an etymological/anthropological sense.  Abraham was prepared to offer his first born son Isaac as a human sacrifice to God.  However, it must be remembered and stressed that God then told Abraham that such a human sacrifice was not necessary and accepted a ram in place of Isaac.  So while the linguistic phrase "dedicated the firstborn to the Lord" may have such undertones, when placed in a decidedly Jewish context, that dedication no longer meant human sacrifice.
First, did he clearly say that it was not "necessary" Judaic critics of Christianity say Christianity doesn't work because it is not "necessary". One response I think to the critics is that a sacrifice of a sinful person would not be effective, and besides, God say "no" to human sacrifice because murder is bad.

Second, what COULD dedicate a son to the Lord mean???? besides sacrifice? It sounds bad, like some kind of euphemism, suggesting that it is an analogy to pagan murder of children.

Third, maybe pagan or semipagan Jews DID sinfully and foolishly sacrifice Kids before God said very clearly no! to Abraham. We don't hear of Jewish-approved kid sacrifice clearly in the Bible, and certainly the Bible and its writers would lean toward the view that GOD did not tell people to murder kids!
 

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NorthernPines said:
ignatius said:
A friend of mine, who is an ex-Orthodox Christian, stated that:

The "first born dedicated to the Lord"... is an ancient colloquialism for ritual infant sacrifice of the first born.

Is there any evidence for this?
I know I've read various scholars books and articles suggesting pretty strongly that the dedication to the Lord of the first born was in fact an "anti" child sacrifice practice. In the sense that in some other religions people brought their children to a temple handed them over to the priests, and then...well obviously they never got them back. This practice is believed to be a sort of politically subversive act  to tell those nations that did practice child sacrifice, they had it wrong, where the first born was handed over to the priests, and then handed back to the parents still alive. For the life of me I cannot recall where I read this, but I'm sure in was a pretty famous scholar of ancient Judaism, (or foot noted in a book about ancient Judaism?)....As I think about it the only book that I can think of by title that it could have been was a book titled, something along the lines of "A Study of Israel's Second God".....or something to that affect. There are relatively few scholars of ancient Hebrew religion as it's a really specialized field....

I do know many scholars have said the Abraham story was again a subversive story declaring child/human sacrifice as immoral/sin etc which was kind of ground breaking in the land of Canaan. So I think you're friend is on to "something" though he's got his facts/history twisted backwards and in various directions.  I'd ask him to list his sources, names of books, or a scholar and then look that source up to see if it's legitimate or just some nut with no qualifications at all.
Good point! Thank you! I remember that Mary or Jesus or John Baptist was according to the Bible "dedicated" in the temple after birth.
 
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