The spirit of Vedic worship is pervaded by a devout belief in the efficacy of invocation and sacrificial offering.
One of the fourteen sections of the Satapathabrahmana, the tenth, called Agni-rahasya or "the mystery of Agni (the god and altar)," is entirely devoted to this feature of the sacrificial symbolism.
In Armenia the Greek word agape has been used ever since the 4th century to indicate these sacrificial meals, which either began or ended with a eucharistic celebration.
Among the Greeks and Romans likewise it was the liver that continued throughout all periods to play the chief role in divination through the sacrificial animal.
We are justified in concluding, therefore, that among the Greeks and Romans likewise the examination of the liver was the basis of divination in the case of the sacrificial animal.
This conception of the Sabbath, however, necessarily underwent an important modification when the local sanctuaries were abolished under the "Deuteronomic" reform, and those sacrificial rites and feasts which in Hosea's time formed the essence of every act of religion were limited to the central altar, which most men could visit only at rare intervals.
He connects the Christian ministry, not with the worship of the Temple, in which were priests and sacrificial ritual, but with that of the synagogue, which was a local institution providing spiritual edification by the reading and exposition of Scripture.'
It is, however, to the Brahmanas and Sutras of the Yajurveda, dealing with the ritual of the real offering-priest, the Adhvaryu, that we have to turn for a connected view of the sacrificial procedure in all its material details.
The setting up, by a householder, of a set of three sacrificial fires of his own constitutes the first ceremony of the former class, the Agny-adhana (or (?) Agny-adheya).
From this time forward the new moons, which till then had been at least as important as the Sabbath and were celebrated by sacrificial feasts as occasions of religious gladness, fall into insignificance, except in the conservative temple ritual.
At a subsequent period the demand for instruction in the sacrificial science called into existence a still more practical set of manuals, the so-called Kalpa-sutras, or ceremonial rules, detailing, in succinct aphorisms, the approved course of sacrificial procedure, without reference to the supposed origin or import of the several rites.
In artistic representations, Brahma usually appears as a bearded man of red colour with four heads crowned with a pointed, tiara-like head-dress, and four hands holding his sceptre, or a sacrificial spoon, a bundle of leaves representing the Veda, a bottle of water of the Ganges, and a string of beads or his bow Parivita.
The gradual elaboration of the sacrificial ceremonial, as the all-sufficient expression of religious devotion, and a constantly growing tendency towards theosophic and mystic speculation on the significance of every detail of the ritual, could not fail to create a demand for explanatory treatises of this kind, which, to enhance their practical utility, would naturally deal with the special texts and rites assigned in the ceremonial to the several classes of officiating priests.
The chief interest, however, attaching to the Brahmanas is doubtless their detailed description of the sacrificial system as practised in the later Vedic ages; and the information afforded by them in this respect should be all the more welcome to us, as the history of religious institutions knows of no other sacrificial ceremonial with the details of which we are acquainted to anything like the same extent.
An even more complete and minutely detailed view of the sacrificial system is no doubt obtained from the ceremonial manuals, the Kalpa-sutras; but it is just by the speculative discussions of the Brahmanasthe mystic significance and symbolical colouring with which they invest single rites - that we gain a real insight into the nature and gradual development of this truly stupendous system of ritual worship.
The principal other ceremonies of this class are the new and full moon offerings, the oblations made at the commencement of the three seasons, the offering of first-fruits, the animal sacrifice, and the Agnihotra, or daily morning and evening oblation of milk, which, however, is also included amongst the grihya, or domestic rites, as having to be performed daily on the domestic fire by the householder who keeps no regular set of sacrificial fires.
Thus the most prominent subdivision of the older school, the Taittiriyas, in their Samhita, have treated the main portion of the ceremonial in this promiscuous fashion, and to add to the confusion they have, by way of supplement, put forth a so-called Taittiriya-brahmana, which, so far from being a real Brahmana, merely deals with some additional rites in the same confused mixture of sacrificial formulae and dogmatic explanations.
Of a far more complicated nature than these offerings are the Soma-sacrifices, which, besides the simpler ceremonies of this class, such as the Agnishtoma or "Praise of Agni," also include great state functions, such as the Rajasuya or consecration of a king, and the Asvamedha or horse-sacrifice, which, in addition to the sacrificial rites, have a considerable amount of extraneous, often highly interesting, ceremonial connected with them, which makes them seem to partake largely of the nature of public festivals.
This spirit of do ut des will be found to go closely with the gift-theory of sacrifice, and to be especially characteristic of those religions of middle grade that are given over to sacrificial worship as conducted in temples and by means of organized priesthoods.
No general survey of sacrificial ritual is possible here, but a.
In the east Syrian, the Armenian and the Georgian churches, respectively Nestorian, Monophysite and Greek Orthodox in their tenets, the agape was from the first a survival, under Christian and Jewish forms, of the old sacrificial systems of a pre-Christian age.
The early Christian agape admitted of adaptation to the older funeral and sacrificial feasts, and was so adapted.
Saul and his attendant are invited by the seer-priest Samuel into the banqueting chamber (lishkah) where thirty persons partake of the sacrificial meal.
It is not to be supposed that either Amos or Isaiah would have countenanced the total suppression of all sacrificial observance.
The ideas of expiation and atonement so prevalent in Ezekiel's scheme, which there find expression in the half-yearly sacrificial celebrations, are expressed in Lev.
Among the more interesting relics found were ivory figures of Egyptian or strongly Egyptianizing fabric. On an adjacent hill were the remains of what seems to have been in later times a temple of the Dictaean Zeus, and from the occurrence of rich deposits of Minoan vases and sacrificial remains at a lower level, the religious tradition represented by the later temple seems to go back to prehistoric times.
3), and their king Agag, slain by Samuel as a sacrificial offering (I Sam.
While the priests developed the sacrificial ritual, it was the prophets that represented the theocratic element of the national life - they devoted themselves to their task with noteworthy persistence and ability, and their efforts were crowned with success; but their virtue of singlemindedness carried with it the defect of narrowness - they despised all peoples and all countries but their own, and were intolerant of opinions, held by their fellow-citizens, that were not wholly in accordance with their own principles.
Like the prophetical writings before Ezekiel, the Wisdom books, while they recognize the sacrificial ritual as an existing custom, attach little importance to it as an element of religious life (the fullest mention of it is in Ecclus.
At the time of the reformation under Josiah, represented by Deuteronomy, the attempt was made to turn the family thank-offering of firstlings into a sacrificial rite performed by the priests in the Temple with the aid of the males of each household, who had to come up to Jerusalem but left the next morning to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in their homes.
The descent of the priest into the sacrificial foss symbolized the death of Attis, the withering of the vegetation of Mother Earth; his bath of blood and emergence the restoration of Attis, the rebirth of vegetation.
If, for example, on a certain occasion when the liver of a sacrificial animal was examined, certain events of a favourable character followed, the conclusion was drawn that the signs observed were favourable, and hence the recurrence of these signs on another occasion suggested a favourable answer to the question put to the priests.