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The Plight of Buchanan's Jephtha: Sacrifice, Sovereignty, and Paternal Power

The Plight of Buchanan's Jephtha: Sacrifice, Sovereignty, and Paternal Power 1 Rives shows how negative evaluations of human sacrifice have been used in classical and early Christian cultures to distinguish civilization — where blood-sacrifice, if it occurs, involves only animals — from barbarism. For a study of the role played by tragedy in developing the opposition between Hellene and barbarian, see Hall 145–48. When condemning the practice of human sacrifice by indigenous Americans, Francisco de Vitoria, following Acquinas, mentions Jephtha’s foolish vow and his impiety in fulfilling it (Pagden 90). CLJ604-02nyquist.indd 331 COMPARATIVE LITERATURE / 332 11 who ritually sacrifices his only daughter? 2 More specifically, how does George Buchanan, the author of an important sixteenth-century treatise justifying political resistance, represent this sacrifice in his scripturally based drama Iephthes? As a military commander, Jephtha often figured in discussions of the “ just” war (in his case, against the Ammonites). As one of ancient Israel’s judges, he is also a representative of Israel’s pre-monarchical mode of self-governance, which, especially for Dutch and English varieties of republicanism, had something of republican Rome’s simplicity and primitive vigor. Jephtha also, however, appears as the central actor in a disturbing episode of child-sacrifice that was very well known in the early modern period. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

The Plight of Buchanan's Jephtha: Sacrifice, Sovereignty, and Paternal Power

Comparative Literature , Volume 60 (4) – Jan 1, 2008

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2008 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/-60-4-331
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1 Rives shows how negative evaluations of human sacrifice have been used in classical and early Christian cultures to distinguish civilization — where blood-sacrifice, if it occurs, involves only animals — from barbarism. For a study of the role played by tragedy in developing the opposition between Hellene and barbarian, see Hall 145–48. When condemning the practice of human sacrifice by indigenous Americans, Francisco de Vitoria, following Acquinas, mentions Jephtha’s foolish vow and his impiety in fulfilling it (Pagden 90). CLJ604-02nyquist.indd 331 COMPARATIVE LITERATURE / 332 11 who ritually sacrifices his only daughter? 2 More specifically, how does George Buchanan, the author of an important sixteenth-century treatise justifying political resistance, represent this sacrifice in his scripturally based drama Iephthes? As a military commander, Jephtha often figured in discussions of the “ just” war (in his case, against the Ammonites). As one of ancient Israel’s judges, he is also a representative of Israel’s pre-monarchical mode of self-governance, which, especially for Dutch and English varieties of republicanism, had something of republican Rome’s simplicity and primitive vigor. Jephtha also, however, appears as the central actor in a disturbing episode of child-sacrifice that was very well known in the early modern period.

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2008

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