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Mactare. Etymology and Anthropology of the Archaic Sacred

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.56044    4,416 Downloads   4,815 Views  
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ABSTRACT

In this article I will show that the victimary theory of René Girard can make a decisive contribution to the interpretation and solution of etymological and semantic questions of the verb “mactare”, which is basic in the terminology related to the topic of the sacrifice. The victimary anthropology provides the hermeneutical key that allows us to consider the expressions “mactare Deum” and “mactare victimam” as genetically synonymous. The theory of René Girard seems to perfectly explain the coexistence, in “mactare victimam”, of two meanings: kill on the one hand, raise and glorify on the other hand. In the case of original lynching, which is mostly hidden in the myth, the victim, which at first is killed for it is believed that the cause of all evils is deified by the persecutors as the cause of all goods. Hence the need to strengthen and renew periodically, through animals or human sacrifices, the saving power of divinity established with the murder of the first victim. That’s why killing and glorifying coexist in “mactare”, which is both “mactare victimam” and “mactare Deum”, since the verb means to kill when referring to a victim and to glorify when referring to God. Indeed, the deification of the victim is the result of his killing.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Tugnoli, C. (2015) Mactare. Etymology and Anthropology of the Archaic Sacred. Open Journal of Philosophy, 5, 365-373. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.56044.

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