- List of Contributors
- The Self and the Good Life
- Nationalism and Patriotism
- The Making of the Modern Metropolis
- The Other
- Freedom and Human Emancipation
- Work and Labour
- Suffering In Theology and Modern European Thought
- Nihilism and Theology: Who Stands at the Door?
- War and Peace
- Radical Philosophy and Political Theology
- Beauty and Sublimity
- Time and History
- The Metaphysics of Modernity
- The Bible
- Divine Providence
Abstract and Keywords
This chapter explores conceptions of sacrifice in modern European thought. Three types of constructive theory of sacrifice are discussed: the spiritual, the economic-pragmatic, and the aesthetic. The first belongs to the mainstream Christian inheritance, where sacrifice betokens the necessary battle between the lower and the higher self in an axiological universe. Joseph de Maistre and Simone Weil represent this form of thinking about sacrifice. The economic view of sacrifice is associated with the Durkheimian conception of religion, where the sacred becomes a function of society and where sacrifice is a means to an end. Finally, there is the aesthetizisation of the violence of sacrifice in Friedrich Nietzsche and Georges Bataille, where sacrifice becomes an image of a Dionysian affirmation of life itself, with its dark and violent aspect included, and the vehement repudiation of both any higher Divine telos to sacrifice and some merely functional-prudent construal of ‘making sacred’.
Douglas Hedley read Philosophy and Theology at the Universities of Oxford and Munich and has been lecturing in the Divinity Faculty Cambridge since 1996. He has been a visiting professor at the EPHE, Sorbonne, Paris, and has lectured in the USA, Canada, India, China, and Japan. He is the author of Coleridge, Philosophy and Religion: Aids to Reflection and the Mirror of the Spirit (2000), Living Forms of the Imagination (2008), and Sacrifice Imagined: Violence, Atonement and the Sacred (2011).
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