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Session Chair: Wolfgang Spickermann | Tuesday, August 25, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Shervin Farridnejad

“Lawfully Slaughtered”: Animal slaughter and the use of animal products in Zoroastrianism

Animal slaughter as well as animal sacrifice is a regular and normal part of religious life in Indo-European tradition. The common Indo-European verbal root *Hįeǵ- (Av. yaz-; Ved. yaj-) means both “to worship” as well as “to sacrifice”. Furthermore, animal fat is an important ingredient of several major Zoroastrian rituals. Zoroastrianism, the ancient Iranian religion and one of the oldest living religious traditions of mankind, however demonstrates different and sometimes paradoxical attitudes to the slaughter of animals and the use of animal products, both in religious and everyday practice. Irānī Zoroastrians seems have restricted animal sacrifice in course of modern adoptions in very recent times, that had already been abandoned by Pārsī communities in India some centuries back, most likely under pressure from the Hindu tradition. In this presentation, I will give an analysis of certain features of Zoroastrian historical and contemporary attitudes and laws regarding slaughtering animals, as well as the limitation or forbidding of the use and consuming of animal products based on Zoroastrian theological accounts.

Hideki Teshima

Promotion of the Sacrificer through the Ancient Indian Kingship Rituals

The Rājasūya (royal consecration) and the Aśvamedha (horse sacrifice) are the most well-known kingship rituals of the vedic tradition. And we recognize that, in general, the former is to be celebrated for being a king, and the latter for promoting a king to the higher king over the other kings. But it is still obscure how different is the status reached by the Aśvamedha from that by the Rājasūya. This report aims to clarify from a fresh viewpoint that the sacrificer of Aśvamedha obtains ‘political superiority, and also ‘religious authority’ especially by entrusting his kingship to the chief priest as well as by plundering the Brahmin people. In this way we will make clear the transition of the sacrificer’s status between the Aśvamedha and the Rājasūya which simply endows with political superiority to the Rājaṇya rivals, especially through several ceremonies of competitions.

Naoko Sakamoto

The Sacred Horse at the Grand Shrine of Ise

In Japan horses are understood to have a deep relationship with Kami (deities). At major Shinto shrines horses designated as Shinme (a sacred horse) are often present. In the Grand Shrine of Ise (Jingu), Shinme is brought in front of the Kami three times a month. This ceremony is called ‘Shinme Kenzan’. Focusing on the Grand Shrine of Ise, known as Jingu, this paper will examine the relationship of horses, Kami and Shinto shrines. The paper begins with a brief history of the dedication of horses at the Grand Shrine of Ise. Next, it reviews the ceremony regarding the horses. Finally, it considers the significance of the sacred horse at Jingu.

Celia Schultz

Sacrifice Among the Romans

The “insider-outsider problem” has made almost no impact on the study of religion in pre-Christian Rome. Classicists generally assume that modern conceptions of prayer, belief, and even religion are identical to Roman notions, encouraged by the close linguistic relationship between our vocabulary and theirs. I argue that this apparent continuity is illusory by looking at one Roman habit, sacrifice (sacrificium). The etic notion of sacrifice as a ritual killing of an animal that is later served to humans and gods has blinkered scholars to nuance in Roman ritual. It is clear that sacrificium included vegetal and inedible offerings (this last undermines the argument for a close link between sacrifice and dining). Nor is sacrificium the only Roman ritual that can have living victims. Roman sacrificium is thus both less and more than the typical etic notion of sacrifice, and this calls into question master narratives that apply that notion universally.


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