Book of

In the Shadow of Moloch: The Sacrifice of Children and Its Impact on Western Religions, by Martin S. Bergmann

Child sacrifice is a theme running through the Jewish and Christian Bibles, from Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac to the Christian idea that G*d the Father Himself sacrificed his Son. Bergmann is a Freudian psychoanalyst, which means that his writing is always good, even when his ideas get to be a bit wacky. But I don’t know that his ideas are as wacky as they at first seem: for instance, Bergmann suggests that the blood libel got a lot of its enduring traction from Christians repressing and projecting their discomfort with the cannibalistic implications of their own doctrines about Transubstantiation.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted January 25, 2010 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Sounds like the book brings up an excellent point about the shared guilt which then gets pushed onto the Jews. Like that’s never happened before!

    Though I would not have isolated children; (and that would be a deeper guilt) it is instructive to think of how these religious practices are now shrouded in history and pushed aside. Just a quick tour of Mayan practices are instructional; and there’s no reason to think these people were unusual in that practice, either.

  2. The Librarian
    Posted January 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I think he isolates children because the theme of child sacrifice is one the Bible brings up and *then* pushes aside. It certainly bothered me, when I was a child, but no-one connected the dots between things like the sacrifice of Isaac, the deaths of the Egyptian first-born, the need to sacrifice or “redeem” first-born animals or children, and the sacrifice of Jesus.

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