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.
Thus the Harranians had four sacrificial days in every month, and of these two at least were determined by the conjunction and opposition of the moon. ?
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.'
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.
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.
The ritual books of our Pentateuch were not then in existence, and the sacrificial cult might be treated with contempt as not authoritative.
So it was in old Israel: the Sabbath was one of the stated religious feasts, like the new moon and the three great .agricultural sacrificial celebrations (Hosea ii.
The question, however, still remains to be answered how people came to the belief or to the assumption that through the soul, or the seat of life of the sacrificial animal, the intention of the gods could be divined.
The theory underlying hepatoscopy therefore consists of these two factors: the belief (I) that the liver is the seat of life, or, to put it more succinctly, what was currently regarded as the soul of the animal; and (2) that the liver of the sacrificial animal, by virtue of its acceptance on the part of the god, took on the same character as the soul of the god to whom it was offered.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The building of this altar is spread over a whole year, during which period the sacrificer has to carry about the sacrificial fire in an earthen pan for at least some time each day, until it is finally deposited on the completed altar to serve as the offering-fire for the Soma oblations.
He became a Salian priest at the age of eight, and soon knew by heart all the forms and liturgical order of the official worship, and even the sacred music. In the earliest statue we have he is a youth offering incense; he is a priest at the sacrificial altar in the latest triumphal reliefs.
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.
243) argues that if there was an original bond of kinship between the god and the kin, there is no need to maintain it by sacrificial rites, and cites against Smith's view the practice of totemic groups.
Moreover, under piaculum are confused purification, propitiations and expiations; Smith's contention that purifications, whose magical character he recognizes but interprets as late, are not sacrificial, is far from conclusive.
No general survey of sacrificial ritual is possible here, but a.
Word for a sacrificial offering, and is so used elsewhere in the same Gospel, viz.
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.
In the sacrificial system of sin-offerings (Jhattath and'asham) we have to do with sin as ceremonial violation and neglect (frequently involuntary), or violation of holiness in the old sense of the term or as personal uncleanness (touching a corpse, eating unclean food, sexual impurity, &c.).
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.
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.