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Grades are finally in!

December 21, 2010

As of about an hour ago grades are in and posted for the semester. It’s been a busy fall. I had a grand total of 23 hours between submitting the final draft of my dissertation being and starting the fall semester. I need a break.

Of course, a break is never really a break. I need to finalize a review of Kathryn McClymond’s Beyond Sacred Violence: A Comparative Study of Sacrifice by the end of the year. I also need to  read Fernando Báez’s A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern Iraq for a faculty discussion group I’m involved in this spring. But for the moment, all is quiet and still.


  1. Christophe Lemardelé permalink
    January 2, 2011 10:43 am

    I wrote a review about the book of McClymond, it will be published in the anthropological journal Asdiwal ( For me, it’s not a good book because the author wants to apply its theory before to analyse the reality of the rituals. For example, the blood becomes a liquid offering like wine or soma in the vedic ritual, without direct reference to the rites of purification. Other example, she forgets the violence in the ritual of the goat for Azazel, its the same error in the book of Mary Douglas about Leviticus. In fact, Lev 16 ignore the violence of this ritual, not the Mishna Yoma.

    • January 2, 2011 11:57 am

      Christophe, I found some of the same problems you did in the book. I think McClymond needed to show more examples of her theory before applying it to a group of activities so far afield from traditional sacrifice. However, I didn’t have much of a problem with her interpretation of biblical ritual texts, but this is largely because she’s often following the same scholars I follow (e.g. Douglas, Levine, Milgrom, Wright, etc.). My hope is that either McClymond or another scholar will take up her polythetic approach to sacrifice and work out some of the kinks. It seems like a useful tool.

      • Christophe Lemardelé permalink
        January 4, 2011 10:41 am

        I’m following Levine but not Milgrom, and for Douglas, I haven’t understood why she had left his thesis in Purity and Danger for the search of an ethic in P. For me, the sacrifice of the goats are apotropaics and violents at the origin (see my paper in Revue Biblique, “H, Ps et le bouc pour Azazel”, 2006), and the narration in Yoma is more important than the text of Lev 16, to have a complete knowledge of the ritual. Best wishes for this year!

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