Mar 04, 2024  
College Catalog 2021-2022 
College Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

RELI 354 - Human Sacrifice: Killing for God and State

Though sacrifice is often viewed as the exclusive property of religion, this course is organized around the claim that religion and statecraft (the art of governing a nation well) are connected through practices of human sacrifice. Thus, in this course, we use “human sacrifice” as a comparative category to understand aspects of religion and statecraft, especially in war, capital punishment, torture, terrorism, and genocide. Though torture, terrorism, and genocide are important, our special focus is warfare and capital punishment, which encompass the other sites of human sacrifice. The central questions are the following: Why do gods and states demand blood; whence the impulse to human sacrifice? What are the relations between divine sovereignty, political sovereignty, and sacrifice? What are the modalities of human sacrifice? Is human sacrifice inevitable? Every other year. (4 Credits)