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ANAHITA  January 1999

ANAHITA January 1999

Subject:

Re: Quest for Immortality

From:

Jim Miller <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 13 Jan 1999 02:43:00 EST

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (33 lines)

        Commenting on the interrupted fire rituals and linking it to the baptism
issue in the church, P. Johanson wrote, "The mother could be acting out of
concern for, say, the salvation of the child's immortal soul."  Indeed, but
why would the act be understood as bestowing deathlessness in early texts, but
interpreted as fatal in later texts which depend on the earlier material?
Perhaps there were early Greek rituals involving passing an infant through the
flames without harming the infant.  But memories of this ritual were later
reformulated under the influence of the contemporary Phoenician/Punic practice
of child fire sacrifice (which were the rituals mentioned in the Bible as
well).
        And it is interesting that in the Hymn to Demeter it is the mother who
misunderstands and interrupts the ritual being performed by the goddess.  Also
interesting, in the Greek sources it is a female, goddess/mother, who passes
the infant through the flames or places it on the sacrificial altar.  Males
sacrifice only older victims (e.g. Iphiginea, Pelops).  In the Biblical texts
the child sacrificer is male, like the surviving traditions about Punic child
sacrifice.
Jim Miller

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