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Filosofia Theoretica

Volume 11, Issue 1, January/April 2022

Bony SchachterOrcid-ID
Pages 173-186

What is Sacrifice? Towards a Polythetic Definition with an Emphasis on African and Chinese Religions

This paper asks a simple and yet extremely relevant question for scholars of religion: what is sacrifice? Rejecting monothetic definitions of sacrifice, I argue that the phenomenon must be understood as a polythetic class. In its two first sections, the paper discusses the evidence from African religions and Chinese religions, respectively. The last section is devoted to a comparative exercise through which I highlight the polythetic nature of sacrifice.