The Practice of Ritual Sacrifice and the Role of Religion in Development
A South African Practical Theological Exploration
AbstractThe practice of ritual sacrifice within the South African context is explored in the light of the emerging global discussion regarding religion and development. Firstly, some aspects of the theory of René Girard on sacrifice is discussed, as well as African theories pertaining to sacrifice and modern ways in which sacrifice/offering enters language. The following section presents three case studies pertaining to sacrifice from South Africa: one from fiction, one from fieldwork done in an African Independent church and a description of a recent sacrifice conducted on a beach in Cape Town. In a succeeding section, the data presented in the empirical part is interpreted in the light of the preceding theories. In the concluding section a thesis is advanced regarding the possible meaning and significance of sacrifice for an African understanding of development.
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